Partner Spotlight: Afterschool Alliance

December Partner Spotlight 


Today we talk to Coalition partner, Alliance for a Healthier Generation who recently launched My Healthy Weight initiative in conjunction with RWJF and the Bipartisan Policy Center. Learn why empowering kids to develop lifelong healthy habits is their mission.

1.Can you explaine the overall mission of Alliance for a Healthier Generation?

The mission of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation) is to empower kids to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments that surround them provide and promote good health. We accomplish this through improving the policies and systems in the places where kids spend their time, including schoolsout-of-school time (OST) sites, and juvenile justice facilities. In addition, we engage the healthcare and business sectors in our work so that all kids and their families have access to healthy food, physical activity, and appropriate medical treatment for weight management in their communities. 

 

2. What milestones has Alliance for a Healthier Generation reached or is currently moving towards?

Healthier Generation has been in existence for 12 years and we have worked with over 35,000 schools and 2,500 out-of-school time sites across the nation. We continue to work to increase the number of sites that are adopting our framework of best practices. The Alliance’s past work with the beverage companies resulted in a 90% reduction in beverage calories shipped to school. Our most recent agreement with the beverage companies will lead to a 20% reduction in beverage calories consumed per person by 2025, with a particular focus on communities with high rates of food insecurity and obesity.

 

3.  How does Alliance for a Healthier Generations principles tie into the Community School’s principles and philosophy? How do you see your work fitting into ours?

The work of Healthier Generation fits quite nicely into the Community School’s principles and philosophy, under "health and social supports." Our goal is to improve the health of children so that they can be successful academically and reach their full potential in life. Our work ensures that the environments where kids spend their time are providing healthy food and access to physical activity, and that children are developing the skills they need to be healthy throughout their lifetimes. This work complements the provision of physical and mental health services, which is crucial to student health and is a key component of the Community School’s model.


4.  What are some exciting things coming up for Alliance for a Healthier Generation (i.e., events, publications)?

There are a lot of exciting things happening! Healthier Generation and the Healthy Schools Campaign are now funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to continue our work on the integration of health and wellness into school policy and practice through the Every Student Succeeds Act. Look for more resources on this soon. In addition, we recently launched our My Healthy Weight initiative in conjunction with RWJF and the Bipartisan Policy Center, to ensure that all children receive appropriate medical services for the treatment and prevention of overweight and obesity. Our new Healthier Generation Store allows school and OST sites to access healthier snacks no matter where the organization is located or how many students they serve. This saves staff members time and effort, and ensures that organizations have the ability to serve snacks that align with the Smart Snacks in School and National Afterschool Association’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards.


5. How does Alliance for a Healthier Generation place equity into their agenda?

Equity has always been a key component of the work of Healthier Generation. Though our resources are available to all schools, our strongest effort is focused on schools with a high percentage of students who are eligible for free- and reduced-priced lunches, and on the out-of-school time sites that serve these students. Our healthcare and business sector work has the end goal of reaching all children and their families, however our immediate focus is on those with the highest need. We work to level the playing field in terms of healthy environments, and ensure that even the most at-risk children have the chance to grow up healthy.


6. Finally, what is the most exciting thing about working at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation?

The most exciting thing about working at Healthier Generation is being part of an amazing team of individuals who are devoted to children. We are constantly looking for new ways to approach children’s health issues, and ensure that all aspects of their environments promote health. Whether it be our policy work, our direct work in schools and OST sites, or our work with the healthcare and business sectors, we are all committed to the same end goal. This excitement and quest for a solution to one of our nation’s most critical issues, poor health in children, inspires us to go to work every day. 

 

 

 

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