Healing Super Heroes Every School Day: 2019 Awareness Month Wrap-Up

Healing Super Heroes Every School Day
2019 Awareness Month Wrap-Up

By Anna Burns, Manager of Communications and Public Policy
Research assistance from Miranda Robinson-Perez

February 2019 marks my third year managing the national campaign we call National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month. And as the person who tracks user engagements throughout the commemoration, I’m excited to share that this was easily our most talked-about Awareness Month.

From its inception and ever since, the goal of the campaign has been to raise awareness about the benefits of school-based health centers (SBHCs) and the positive impact these centers have on improving health care access for children and adolescents. But it also gives each of us a moment to pause and reflect on how school-based health care has affected us and why we believe in the mission—and then to go find an SBHC staffer so we can express our gratitude.

This year, we re-focused our messaging and went back to the basics. Our 2019 theme was Healing Super Heroes Every School Day. Why? Because kids and teens don’t feel like super heroes when they’re sick, sad, hungry, or in pain.

We believe all children and adolescents deserve to thrive and grow into the super heroes we know they can be. But too many struggle because they lack access to health care services. School-based health care is the solution, bringing health care to where students already spend the majority of their time: in school. When health and education come together, great things happen—and our young super heroes are healed.

We’re humbled by the passion our SBHC advocates displayed in February. Multiple states held statewide Advocacy Days and rallied students, parents, advocates, and health center professionals to meet with state policymakers and share stories and data that highlighted SBHCs’ role in reducing health disparities and increasing educational success. At the local level, you shared stories of your health centers’ impact on students via social media and newsletters, held on-site events and SBHC tours for legislators, and made sure to showcase your SBHC within your community.

And on Thursday, February 21, you joined us to take Twitter by storm—and that’s exactly what we did. Click here to see an executive summary of our most successful Twitter chat ever, which garnered almost 13 million impressions!

Thanks again for a great month. We’re sharing stories and activities from your Awareness Month campaigns below. Enjoy and bookmark some ideas for next February! And let’s keep spreading our message loud and clear year-round.

 

Colorado

The Avon Elementary School-Based Health Centers were featured in their local paper for Awareness Month. The Post Independent interviewed Rachel Hickman and Jenny Lang, two family nurse practitioners, about how SBHCs enable kids to focus in the classroom by treating their health concerns. Take a few minutes to read about the difference SBHCs make in Eagle County!

 

Connecticut

Throughout February, every patient who visited the SBHCs operated by Community Health Center, Inc., headquartered in Middletown, got a superhero—or superheroine—sticker. The SBHCs also conducted a door and bulletin board decorating contest. Check out the contest results below.

 

 

Winners were judged on 1) the presence of a superhero, 2) highlighting the National School-Based Health Center Awareness Month theme, and 3) the creativity and originality of their work. Finding it difficult to narrow the field of entries, CHC staff declared them all winners and acknowledged their efforts to promote SBHCs.

 

 

Illinois

Over 600 students attended the Heartland Health Center’s sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention event at Senn High School in Chicago. Congratulations to the team members who reached so many kids with sexual health education and STI screening and counseling.

 

Louisiana

All seventeen CHRISTUS Central Louisiana SBHCs across Alexandria, LA were honored at a breakfast celebration for the incredible work they do for kids and teens. The celebration included a presentation, door prizes, and special recognition for those who’d served for 20 years. We applaud our friends in Louisiana for taking the time to honor the time and energy CHRISTUS school health teams invest in their school communities.

 

Massachusetts

At Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, the SBHC Youth Advisory Council (YAC) made a valentine for every student in their school. What has now become a four-year tradition, the YAC crafted over 1,600 personalized valentines! It’s a great way to make every student feel special and help promote their school-based health center.

 

Michigan

The School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan (SCHA-MI) inaugurated its Guardian Angel award during Awareness Month to honor parents and guardians who help promote SBHCs and expand awareness of their benefits. In a poignant letter from a parent of a student enrolled at the Cedar Springs School Health Center, a mother wrote candidly about her daughter’s experience with the health center and the positive effect it’s had on her family.

Not intimidated by bad weather or cancelled events, the Michigan team persisted in hosting six “Coffee and Donuts” learning sessions for policymakers in the house and senate office buildings. Legislators and their staff found the relaxed sessions perfect opportunities to learn about why every community in the state should have a school-based health center.

SCHA-MI also sent cards of gratitude to every SBHC in the state to thank health center staff members for their steadfast dedication to redefining health for kids and teens.

 

Missouri

Riverview Gardens High School students traveled to the Missouri state capital to advocate for SBHCs during their annual Legislative Forum Student Showcase. Students shared firsthand information about the SBHC programs in their schools directly with policymakers. Here’s the group with their state senator, Brian Williams!

 

New York

The New York School-Based Health Alliance assembled SBHC staff, advocates, students, and parents from across the state and descended on the state capital.  With hundreds of “superheroes” in attendance, the group kicked off the day hearing from students about their own stories before reviewing talking points and hitting the road to Albany. NYSBHA posted photos of their meetings with legislators on their website.

Students from the NY Presbyterian Hospital SBHC created two compelling video PSAs that were featured at Advocacy Day: HPV Prevention PSA and NY Presbyterian Hospital SBHC News. Don’t miss these!

NYSBHA presented their annual advocacy award to Keyla Espinal Antigua of Children’s Aid.  Congratulations, Keyla!

 

Ohio

The Ohio School Based Health Alliance team released a video highlighting four health centers that opened in 2018 and announcing the opening of more SBHCs to come in 2019.

The Fairfield School-Based Health Center created a newsletter that tells the story of six interactions with their student body and underscores the role a SBHC can play not only in improving health but also students’ safety, self-esteem, and educational outcomes.

 

Oregon

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared February School-Based Health Care Awareness Month. At the end of the month, the Oregon School-Based Health Alliance hosted their 12th annual state advocacy day. Students first gathered to share ideas and skills with one another and then met their legislators to advocate for the health needs of school-aged children and the value of SBHCs.

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