This week and next week, more than 50 parent leaders from Chicago's Latino and African-American communities are gathering for the sixth annual Parent Leadership Institute from Parents United for Healthy Schools/Padres Unidos para Escuelas Saludables.
The institute, shaped each year by parent voices and the changing landscape of school wellness in Chicago and across the nation, equips parents with the knowledge and skills to make change for wellness in schools. This includes background knowledge about the issues -- such as information about the connection between health and learning, and about health disparities in Chicago communities -- as well as the skills involved in making change. These skills focus on creating and leading wellness teams, which provide a vehicle for parents to have a voice in decisions that shape food and fitness at school. They also focus on school planning and reporting efforts that engage parents and community in setting school priorities -- such as a focus on increasing opportunities for physical activity.
This year, parents are also gaining skills to connect their schools with Go for the Gold, HSC's partnership with Chicago Public Schools to support schools in meeting the HealthierUS School Challenge. To follow up on parent interest in the recent move by CPS to serve chicken raised without antibiotics on Amish farms in nearby Indiana, the 2012 institute also includes conversation about where and how food is grown and raised.
Stay posted for blogs next week focused on the remarkable work of Parents United for Healthy Schools.
In the meantime, check out this short video on why participants get involved with Parents United:
To learn more about Parents United, check out more spotlights on HSC's blog!