What is the BeSmart Wellness Coalition?
It is a group of student leaders formed to leverage existing programs and provide a focus on wellness activities for teens and parents in the KP community. In hind sight, they did their organization backwards. They would coordinate more with the School District and faculty to bring this around. They feel the district and teachers was somewhat threatened by the organization and aggressive desires of the group. Contentious teacher contract negotiations were going on during the group’s formation and that did not help the situation.
This did not stop the group from holding events such as:
Sheet draping for Junior Prom 2009 – based upon a stat that every third car had a serious or fatal accident, the group obtained a donation of sheets. Every third car was draped while the students were in the Prom so the visual was impact-full when the students left the event. There was communication and notifications prior to the event so it was not a complete surprise and worked out to be quite effective.
A big hit was the development of an intramural program. This was held after school, using school facilities, and started with volleyball. All parent volunteers were used to coordinate. The program lasted one and half hours each evening. It was just enough time, 6:30 – 8:00. The time slot right after school was not as successful, the later time worked better for attendance. They are working on developing a dodge ball intramural league for this year.
They did plan activities for school half days. In particular, the middle school students loved the monster mini-golf. A future event is being planned for the dinner theater in North Attleboro.
The Distracted Driving Campaign was a great success. They are looking to re-do this year as well. There were daily posters and notifications leading up to the event. They collaborated with the high school video production students and the DECA program. Competing for the grand prize, sign the pledge, etc. There was a tangible marketing production. The video production group got to go to the local production of Oprah in Boston.
All the events were student lead, student driven from conception through execution. They recommend having food involved for the student activities, it helps to make the event attractive and successful. The group grew from 20 (last year) to 60 (this year). Their meetings are currently held in the KP cafeteria which is not a great location as it is not a very quiet and private space to help build the relationships amongst the group. They also split into subcommittees to focus planning on each of their initiatives. They want to get a better meeting space and bring the group together after the subcommittee working sessions to help foster the relationships as a group.
For the group as an organization, the students developed a policy and an application with questions and an interview process to apply for membership. The students pledge to not drink, etc. This group coordinates with the Students Against Drunk Drinking (SADD) which is focused on drinking. The BeSmart group has a much broader health wellness focus.
They are proposing a joint event to be coordinated with Franklin High School featuring Cara Filler ( http://www.carafiller.com/) It would be possible to hold during day events at each school (FHS and KP) and then do a joint event for the parents in the evening.
Deb Sweeney, representing Arbour Counseling, discussed possible coordination with the Council.
For example – if a group was identified via the MetroWest survey with a particular problem, then a support group could get formed to meet that need. Groups are more powerful than one-on-one sessions due to peer-to-peer interaction. They are looking to link the services with the needs of the community. They do handle a lot of individual referrals but think there may be an opportunity for more group work. They are looking to find out if there are service needs that are not being met. In most cases, funding for their counseling can be done through the individuals health insurance coverage. They left the group with a question: How can we capitalize on the audience of another event to provide some counseling awareness or services?
Lauren Marciszyn, from the YMCA, put a plug in for the planning meeting on Jan 11th .
Lisa Keohane provided a quick update that 240 folks attended the Perry Aftab event in December. It was video taped and will be posted to the cable channel sometime TBD. The teenangels program is now 78 students. It is the only one in New England. They are continuing to work on cyber bullying. Four students have moved from the middle school to be freshman at FHS this year. Kristin Cerce is working to help get them and their teenangel experience integrated into the high school.
Lisa also provided a book recommendation “Please stop laughing at me” by Jodee Blanco. (http://www.jodeeblanco.com/) While their program to date has been using the Wired program materials, they are also looking to integrate other materials appropriately.
As the meeting closed, there was a proposal raised to add a meeting to the calendar for Feb 3rd. Email Michelle Kingsland-Smith if unable to make this date.
Additional information about the Council can be found here