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New online tool advances programs that foster children’s health, resilience and academic success

August 24, 2015

A new online resource from the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS) will help school administrators, program directors, civic leaders, and others sustain programs that prepare children for academic success while promoting their social, emotional, and physical health.

CHHCS developed the new tool, “Partner Build Grow: An Action Guide for Sustaining Child Development and Prevention Approaches,” with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

“This Action Guide is a go-to resource for advocates and leaders who often find themselves struggling to maintain good programs that are helping young people not only learn but thrive,” said Olga Acosta Price, director of CHHCS, a nonpartisan policy, resource and technical assistance center based at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University. “Our hope is that the best practices, strategies, and success stories shared here will help strengthen and sustain programs that give children the skills they need to succeed, both in school and throughout their lives.”

Although many local communities, agencies, and school districts have a variety of stand-alone programs to support youth development, often these efforts are disconnected, underutilized, and financially vulnerable. The Action Guide fills these gaps by combining best-practice knowledge with practical steps needed to secure funding and build crucial support for effective programs.

Topics addressed in the Action Guide include:

  • Mobilizing key allies
  • Taking inventory and identifying existing resources
  • Constructing a clear problem statement and developing a call to action
  • Organizing community stakeholders
  • Assessing viable financing and regulatory approaches
  • Developing a communications strategy

The Action Guide lays out a four-pronged strategic blueprint that stakeholders can use or adapt to the unique circumstances of their communities:

  • Network and build relationships with decision-makers at local and state levels
  • Identify and stay on top of key federal and state policies that affect programs
  • Build upon existing resources or assets
  • Spread the word and build public support for school-connected programs

“For effective programs to survive, it’s not enough to show positive results by increasing resilience, social and emotional skills, and academic performance,” says Price.  “You need to be strategic and plan for the long-term viability of programs from their initiation. Following the steps in this Action Guide will help leaders ensure the future of investments that put young people on the road to better, more successful, and healthier lives.”

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