SNAP-Ed and Healthier Generation: 2 Success Stories
Healthy kids are better learners, which is why Healthier Generation is committed to ensuring that schools and out-of-school time (OST) sites promote and support good health. We know that we cannot do this alone and thus rely on our amazing partners to scale our work across the nation. Two such partners are Alabama SNAP-Ed at Auburn (AU SNAP-Ed) and the Health Promotion Council (HPC), both of which receive funding from USDA to provide nutrition education to SNAP participants (SNAP-Ed). Healthier Generation supports these partners in integrating policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) approaches into their community-level work in alignment with SNAP-Ed priorities.
AU SNAP-Ed has been collaborating with us for almost a year to expand their Quest for Healthy Schools initiative, which supports local schools in improving their wellness policies, systems, and environments. Healthier Generation provides a variety of supports including monthly updates on new resources, training and technical assistance, access to online tools, quarterly data reports on school progress, and national recognition eligibility for schools enrolled in the program. Utilizing the Healthy Schools Program assessment and resources has helped AU SNAP-Ed staff to identify school wellness champions, garner buy-in from school administrators, and form school wellness committees. The goal is for schools working with AU SNAP-Ed to apply for recognition as America’s Healthiest Schools in school year 2018-2019. According to Dr. Alicia Powers, AU SNAP-Ed Extension Specialist, “More SNAP-Ed agencies should partner with Healthier Generation to take advantage of their plethora of resources and knowledgeable, helpful staff.”
10.2 million children attend OST programs that provide a safe learning space for fun enrichment opportunities. Through key partnerships with organizations including the National Recreation and Park Association, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and National AfterSchool Association, Healthier Generation has helped thousands of OST sites across the nation work towards National Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards.
The localization of these partnerships has been successful in cities like Philadelphia, where HPC is funded through SNAP-Ed to provide free technical assistance to OST sites seeking to create healthier environments. However, HPC was in search of additional capacity and support. Healthier Generation’s Out-of-School Time Framework helped HPC streamline staff training, and our online assessment allowed them to more efficiently track progress across multiple sites. HPC has now expanded their services to reach 53 sites, so more youth across the city have the opportunity to eat healthy and stay active in afterschool. According to Michelle Gross, Assistant Director of the Nutrition and Active Living Department, “As SNAP-Ed continues to grow and support PSE approaches to making the healthy choice the easy choice, our partnership with Healthier Generation enables us to expand our work with OST providers by giving us the tools and data we need to support over 50 sites and track healthy changes.”
Do you have a SNAP-Ed success story to share? E-mail Nancy Katz or connect via Twitter using @NancyBKatzRD.