Grassroots Health has had a busy and impactful fall semester! With over 800 middle school students in health education programs, the training and management of over 100 student-athlete volunteers, sessions for parents and caregivers (Grassroots Fam), and preparing for our culminating end-of-semester event, Grassroots Connect, we’ve managed to take time to engage in professional learning and share more about the approach to innovative health education.
With so much happening in our communities, it can be easy to overlook the wider world of movers and shakers doing similar work in other communities. As a core part of our work, we want to engage with peers in other spaces to both learn from them and share our work. Contributing to the greater public health and education landscape is vital in committing to our vision of a world where schools have the support they need to prioritize health and physical education as core subjects for students.
Kicking off professional conference attendances this fall was Program Manager, Darien Thomas and Program Coordinator, Asia Horne, who recently attended the Association of Middle Level Educators (AMLE). The AMLE Conference served as a great opportunity to not only present about Grassroots Health (see Darien and Asia’s poster here!), but also to connect with middle school educators and learn across a range of topics. Asia notes the range of sessions provided and the opportunity to connect with others, “I listened to everything from discussions about the adolescent brain to teaching practices to support adolescents experiencing trauma. As a young person in the field of health and middle schoolers, it was amazing to get information from more knowledgeable and more experienced educators.” Networking with other educators working with middle schools students provided deep insight and tangible resources that the Grassroots Health team was able to take back to our work, as Darien notes, “I learned about some great resources that I’m excited to share with our partner schools, students, and parents around drugs/alcohol and mental health and wellness.”.
Additionally, Communications Intern, Madison Steskal attended The Mid-Atlantic MarCom Summit and had the opportunity to learn from and network with other marketing and communications professionals across the country. She says, “I attended various panels that discussed topics such as the future of AI in marketing, consumption as culture, navigating crisis communication, and maximizing email marketing. All panels were led by impressive individuals in the field whom I am glad to learn from. Overall, this summit was an influential experience that introduced me to marketing/comms professionals in different positions throughout the nation, and allowed me to connect with sponsors to spread the word about Grassroots Health. I left the conference with lots of inspiration to keep learning and growing as a communicator, marketer, and designer.”
As we close out another fantastic semester of Grassroots Health programming in middle schools, we continue to invest in staff learning and development in service of our dual focuses of impacting adolescent health while at the same time developing leadership within the future generation of public health, education, and youth development practitioners.