Five Fellows, Five Weeks, One Mission
This summer, the goal of the Grassroots Health 5-week training fellow program was to provide student-athlete facilitators with the skills and knowledge necessary to recruit, train, and lead their fellow student-athlete volunteers. Training Fellows play an essential role in furthering the Grassroots Mission and growing the scope of impact in DC and beyond. Just last week our 5 new fellows led summer training for 38 athletes! This is just the initial training opportunity for Athletes who stayed on campus this summer. Athletes will have more opportunities to prepare to volunteer with Grassroots in the coming weeks.
The program does not end there. As a continuation of their student-athlete development, fellows will work over the course of the 2022-23 academic year to encourage student-athlete engagement in Grassroots Health and increase the overall quality of our training and programming. To see the beautiful, smiling faces of our Training fellows, click here!
Our Training Fellows weren’t the only ones interning with Grassroots this summer! Because of our longstanding partnership with Urban Alliance, we were fortunate to have four UA interns working with us this summer: Névaeh Alston, Nazret Berhane, Marie Williams, and Garen Woldehawariat. They engaged in professional development and teambuilding with staff and training fellows, as well as worked on several individual projects to ensure that Grassroots has the most up-to-date data for each of our three topic areas (nutrition, sexual health, mental health). They analyzed the most recent HAHSTA report, DC Behavioral Health Reports, and YRBS data. They also created materials communicating the health-specific needs of our next program launch city, Philadelphia. Together they explored how Grassroots’ approach to health education can help to achieve more health equity.To learn more about Urban Alliance, visit their website here!
We were also extremely thankful to have Alania James (Howard University) and Dylan Theisen (Scripps Semester in DC program) join us to further our rebrand and other communications initiatives. You can read more about them here.
Acknowledging and Exploring our Unconscious Bias
This summer our program team leaders sought out opportunities for our entire staff, including interns, to grow personally and professionally. One of the most notable experiences was a two-day unconscious bias training session led by a facilitator with extensive knowledge of how to support organizations in anti-racist/anti-bias development.
During these sessions we dove deeper into understanding the root of bias, our evaluations or beliefs that can exist without us even realizing it, how our unconscious bias shows up, and how it impacts our life and work. Through both individual and institutional actions and interventions, we can all work to mitigate bias and become consciously aware of our own biases – Grassroots Health is committed to continuing these conversations and training with staff, interns and volunteers moving forward, this is only the beginning. To inquire about Unconscious Bias training, email Raymond at email@example.com.
Sharing Grassroots Health’s Best Practices Nationwide
In July, program coordinators Lara Negrón Ocasio and Treniyyah Anderson traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico to represent Grassroots Health and connect with lifelong educators, public health officials, and passionate community members at the American School Health Association (ASHA) Annual Conference. They shared Grassroots Health’s best practices, and engaged with other passionate people from across the nation invested in prioritizing the health of our students.
Treniyyah (aka Trigga-Tre) attended sessions on using data to advance adolescent health, and strategies for teaching LGBTQIA+ inclusive sexual education. She also participated in conversations regarding life disruptions, mental health, suicide risk, and perceived racism among high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Treniyyah and Lara had the chance to connect with one of the surveillance managers for the CDC’s Youth-Risk Behavior Survey (A tool Grassroots Health uses to inform curriculum and students).
Lara’s favorite sessions discussed ways to engage different types of learners in health education and how to prioritize mental health promotion for students and school leaders alike through the pandemic. Lara had never been to New Mexico, so she jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the culture, the people, and the history of such a cool state. Albuquerque has great vegan spots, too!
Our Grassroots Health representatives brought the whole conference together by sharing how we use data to inform our curriculum. Lara and Treniyyah showed their colleagues that sharing data and learning together can be fun, and doesn’t have to be boring to students. A lot of people were impressed and blown away after learning about the work of Grassroots Health. The pictures say it all!