Speak Up For Health!

What if every child could realize that health is the new wealth and they hold the key to their future.

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Founding Story: Share a story about a key experience or spark that helps the network understand why this project got started or a story about how you became inspired about the potential for this project to succeed.

We invite our citizens to have a Unique Learning Experience by participating in our interactive Health Fair. The Fair is a, Family Fun, learn-by-doing, healthy learning activity. Children began to answer question aloud, and were reward. Students are eager to publicly share their thoughts and feelings about health and wellness, and with a new understanding and commitment to promote their own health. Sharpening communication abilities helps young people succeed in their schools and communities.

Which categories describe you? (the answer will not be public)

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian)
  • Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community)
  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French, Caucasian)

Website

www.healthychoicehealthfair.org

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [State]

  • New Mexico

Location: Where is your organization headquartered? [City]

Albuquerque

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [State]

  • New Mexico

Location: Where is your project primarily creating impact? [City]

Albuquerque

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The goal is to build a knowledge base and desire to significantly improve the quality of life and measurably reduce many preventable diseases for the next generation of New Mexico’s citizens.
Too many young people have something to say but do not have the tools to speak in public effectively and with comfort. Sharpening communication abilities helps young people succeed in a world that demands confidence, articulation and the ability to clearly.

Community Health Fairs can serves as a social empowering program to help our citizens recognize, realize, and promote their human potential through Self–Care Efforts. Citizens talking to each other about Health and Wellness in their own words. Promoting the Value of Health as Wealth is Empowering and inspiring our citizens to be happy and healthy.

Is your model focused on any of the following traditionally underserved communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Children who are differently abled
  • Low-income communities
  • Other

Does your model work within any of the following sectors?

  • Childcare
  • Child and Family Services
  • Community Development and Empowerment
  • Education
  • Mental Health

Year Founded

2012

Project Stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Example: Walk the network through a specific example of what happens when a person or group engages with your solution.

Adults and children will have a chance to look, ponder, be inspired and amazed about their own human potential. Read, think, feel, and be challenged with new ideas. Talk and ask questions, listen to presentations, and analyze their own ability to make healthy choices decisions, which will promote their own human potential. Short oral Presentations along with Question and Answer time, help stimulate thinking and open feeling. Topics include, Human Potential, Health Promoting / Disease Prevention, Obesity, Sedentary Lifestyles, Self-Love and Family Honor, Transformational Healthy Thinking, Promoting Healthy Relationships , Meditation/Yoga, Oneness with Earth and Universe, Helmet Safety, Teen Pregnancy, Stay in School Promotions, School Bull

Impact: What was the impact of your work last year? Please also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

At our last Speak Up For Health event at South Valley Academy several teachers commented that they had never witnessed their students so engaged in any type of health education program before and were “astonished” by the enthusiasm generated by the program. These comments reflect the feedback that HCHF has repeatedly received on the success of the program as an effective way to get students to talk about health and wellness. Students are eager to publicly share their thoughts and feelings about health and wellness, gaining a new understanding and commitment to promote their own health.

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Annual Budget

  • $1k - $10k

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is your solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Healthy Choice Health Fairs will continue to secure funds through foundation grants, local and state funding, corporate and individual donations. An additional revenue source includes the development of a fee-for-services program for corporate wellness health fairs for their employees. We are in the process of developing at least one major fundraising event each year.

Unique Value Proposition: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches?

“Speak Up for Health” is a healthy learning activity developed by the Healthy Choice Health Fair (HCHF) that gets our students to improve their speaking skills and making healthy choices. Schools offer a great opportunity to reach out to a large public audience of multicultural/generational community members. HCHF conducts a health fair where ten student volunteers, 5-12 years old, will be given an opportunity to “Speak Up for Health” by answering a Health challenge question with a three minute oral presentation. The contest is a learn-by-doing healthy learning activity.

Reflect on the Field and its Future: Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s wellbeing?

The goal is to build a knowledge base and desire to significantly improve the quality of life and measurably reduce many preventable diseases for the next generation of New Mexico's citizens. It also serves as a social empowerment program to help citizens to recognize, realize, and promote their human potential through Self-Care Efforts. Starting a conversation and getting our citizens to talk about health and wellness is empowering. Educating our citizens about the value of health as wealth will improve health outcomes.

Source: How did you hear about the Children’s Wellbeing Challenge? (the answer will not be public)

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4 comments

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Photo of Leanne McEvoy
Team

Actively engaging children and parents about healthier living is a great way to improve children's well being.  I wonder if there's a way to coordinate these health fairs through local schools to increase participation.  Independently it may be tough to raise the money to sustain the program.  Collaborating and partnering with local businesses to sponsor the health fairs might be more promising and it would engage a larger percentage of community members.  Good luck to you!  

Photo of Stephen
Team

. I would have liked to learn more about a key experience or a story about how you became inspired on working on this project.

Working as a registered nurse for 34 years I have seen the consequences of unhealthy lifestyle choices and the devastation it causes to personal life and families. In many instances families were unaware of the impact of their lifestyles and eating habits on their health and that they were able to make a real difference in their health outcomes.

New Mexicans are the, second highest poverty rate in the nation, the highest rate of drug deaths in the country at 24 per 100,000, Poverty and lack of education make a difference in health outcomes and 17% of the population who do not have a high school education report that their health is poor.

Amazingly, our state has made no gains in 25 years, according to the study published in 2014. (American Public Health Association, 2014), (Institute for Research and Poverty, 2014). Health determinants such as, low high school graduation rates, teen pregnancy, poor nutrition, lack of motivation/self-esteem/life skills, high rates of drug, alcohol, tobacco use, inactivity and obesity. These determinants are defined as a variety of measures that affect health and wellness. The consequence of widespread unhealthiness is a progressive decline in health, low quality of life and lost productivity.
The University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center states that direct education with the public may encourage the public to make long term commitments to health. The Speak Up for Health program provides direct health education and support that creates healthier families, improves school attendance rates and reduces the incidences of preventable diseases.
To better understand the values that sustain your efforts in this project and the depth of your commitment.

Evaluation of Success
My efforts in The Speak Up for Health Program are based on the value that I place on early intervention having a positive difference on health. Addressing my efforts to school age children will have an impact on not only their families but also their future generations.

I measure the success of each event through both student and teacher questionnaires that are completed during and after each event. The student questionnaires allows teachers and parents to evaluate what each child has learned from the event and which aspects most inspired them to practice healthier habits and behaviors. Project Continuation
Healthy Choice Health Fairs will continue to secure funds through foundation grants, local and state funding, corporate and individual donations. An additional revenue source includes the development of a fee-for-services program for corporate wellness health fairs for their employees. We are in the process of developing at least one major fundraising event each year (end of summer, before school starts) with profits supporting Speak Up for Health.

How else is this problem being addressed?
Collaboration with other organizations:  Due to the tremendous support of UNMH, HCHF is continuously provided with referrals. UNMH has had a significant influence helping to establish our existing collaborations with Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, the American Holistic Nursing Association, Kirkland AFB, New Mexico Department of Health Office of African American Affairs, State of New Mexico’s Healthy Aging Program, Clovis Cultural/Ethnic Affairs Committee, Albuquerque Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the NAACP of New Mexico. HCHF efforts compliment these events these organizations sponsor because no other organization is addressing these health issues at the grass roots and customized level that HCHF provides.

 Are there other organizations working in the same field?

We have not identified other organizations providing the same services HCHF provides. However, we have obtained a number of sponsors who recognize the importance of these events and are very generous with in-kind donations (walking backpacks with pedometer, gift certificates) which are distributed at Speak Up for Health events.
5. How does your project differ from these other approaches?
Project Description: Speak Up for Health is an innovative, interactive health fair conducted at schools within the Albuquerque Public School (APS) district with a focus on middle grade and high school students. The Speak Up for Health program uses a novel approach in our health fairs combining holistic and scientific methods to help students make a commitment to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones by engaging them in a fun and educational program.
Currently there is no Public Health Awareness Campaign for the state of New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Health has programs that address disease diagnosis and treatment such as their Chronic Disease Management, Screening and Prevention Services.

Photo of Stephen
Team

7. Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s well-being?
The Speak Up for Health Program does direct us to an important and promising shift for children/young people. It helped me to recognize the impact of social empowerment in advancing their well-being. Educating our students about the value of health as wealth is empowering. Many young people have something to say but do not have the tools to speak in public effectively and with comfort. Sharpening communication abilities helps young people succeed in a world that demands confidence, articulation and the ability to clearly communicate ideas. By building superior speaking skills, students will prepare to excel in school, attain their dream jobs, defend their beliefs and values, and become leaders in their schools and communities.”
There are 5 benefits that focusing on School Public Speaking through programs such as Speak Up for Health:
1. Public speaking is a necessary and indispensable life skill, and most people are called upon to speak in public at some point in their lives.
2. Public speaking improves research and organization abilities- crucial skills for high school and college success.
3. Employers rank public speaking as one of the top skills they look for in employees. Students can get a head start on their dream careers by developing skills that will translate in the workforce.
4. Speech and debate activities involve “active construction of knowledge.” Students have the opportunity to synthesize, analyze, and utilize new information, rather than merely memorizing facts. According to Communication Education, debate can increase critical thinking skills by 44% in one year and high school reading skills by as much as 25% in one year.
5. Speech helps develop social skills, such as confidence, eye contact, poise, and articulation.
It’s no secret that people throughout history have used the power of public speaking to make a difference. Now students will have the opportunity to speak to a captive audience about health and wellness. They will get a chance to influence their peers by learning and speaking up about what is really important in life. More importantly, students can continue to speak up and in small ways effectively make a difference that will impact someone in their families and communities. So its value expands beyond the confines of each event. HCHF has brought this program to local schools with much success.

Photo of Ivette Guillermo-McGahee
Team

Stephen, The idea of inviting children and youth to participate in conversations/ explorations about their health seems very important, and maybe the most effective way to motivate them to participate in practicing healthy habits. I also agree that children need to be given an opportunity to learn how to speak up about their needs and express how they want to participate in changing health culture, otherwise they may not feel confident to participate actively in this dialogue. 
 I would have liked to learn more about a key experience or a story about how you  became inspired on working on this project, to  better understands the values that sustain your efforts in this project and the depth of your commitment.
There are other questions also that didn't seem to have been answered fully and I'm curious to learn more about it such as: How else is this problem being addressed? Are there other organizations working in the same field, and how does your project differ from these other approaches? Stepping outside of your project, what do you see as the most important or promising shifts that can advance children’s well being?