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Wayne State University, Building Healthy Communities

Based at Wayne State University, Building Healthy Communities (BHC) is a school-based program focused on addressing the social determinants of health that have contributed to wide disparities in many communities across Michigan. The program offers elementary schools in a district the necessary resources to facilitate a healthier environment, prevent chronic disease, and improve the mental health of children. Programming throughout a school districts is an intentional and coordinated effort to facilitate sustainable, systems-wide change focused on healthy living opportunities, access to resources, education, and policies throughout entire communities. During the school year, the Building Healthy Communities staff, along with staff and administrators from each elementary school work collaboratively to implement a comprehensive wellness program, which includes eight components: administrative support, healthy classrooms, quality PE, active recess, school meals, after-school Healthy Kids Club, trauma-sensitive schooling, and Healthy@Home. At a district level, the BHC staff works collaboratively with district administrators and program partners to evaluate wellness policies, identify areas that need to be strengthened, and develop plans for implementation. Through this collaborative approach, students, staff, and communities benefit from policies that encourage health and wellness for students and their families before, during, and after the school day. The Building Healthy Communities program is a collaborative partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Michigan Fitness Foundation, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and Wayne State University’s Center for Health and Community Impact. The BHC program launched in 2009; since then, nearly 400 schools and 200,000 students have participated in the elementary school program and have experienced increased physical and emotional health, academic achievement, interest in healthy choices and activities, and school policies that support student health. Service members will be assigned to work collaboratively with BHC school coordinators to support the program implementation in targeted school districts across the Metro Detroit area. The Building Healthy Communities program utilizes a targeted approach to recruiting and selecting schools for the program, one that focuses on health, education, and economic disparities endemic to many under-resourced communities and schools that negatively impact their students’ social determinants of health.

Service members will be assigned to one or more school districts in Metro Detroit and be engaged in the following activities:

  • Collaborate with BHC staff to plan and implement in-school health-focused events
  • Assist with facilitating the BHC school meals component in select districts
  • Assist the BHC school coordinators with reviewing local school wellness policies and making suggestions for improvement
  • Collaborate with BHC staff to build a monthly Healthy @ Home family newsletter
  • Add to our Healthy@ Home virtual resource library with health tips for families
  • Establish a BHC virtual cooking class series
  • Assist with the creation of health-focused teacher professional development courses on topics related to nutrition education, classroom physical activity, and comprehensive school wellness programs
  • Create gardening unit for optional inclusion for BHC elementary schools
  • Coordinate school garden building efforts for any optionally participating schools
  • Identify funding opportunities for expanding school garden options for schools (to which they could optionally apply)

Metro Detroit ranks as the 11th most populous area in the United States, with a population of 3,734,090 and an area of 1,337.16 square miles. This urbanized area covers parts of the counties of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne and is sometimes referred to as the Detroit Tri-County Area. Metro Detroit is known for its automotive heritage, arts, entertainment, popular music, and sports. The area includes a variety of natural landscapes, parks, and beaches, with a recreational coastline linking the Great Lakes. Metro Detroit also has one of the largest metropolitan economies in America with seventeen Fortune 500 companies.

FoodCorps service members with Building Healthy Communities are part of a Michigan cohort that includes 19 service members in 9 communities across the state. FoodCorps service members have the opportunity to take advantage of a state rich in cultural and geographic diversity. We boast urban, suburban, and rural sites with their own unique set of engaging characteristics, as well as thought-provoking challenges. We welcome all to apply for an experience to learn, give back, and grow!

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ability to work independently
  • Strong verbal and written skills
  • Experience with working cooperatively with a diverse group of people

Based at Wayne State University, Building Healthy Communities (BHC) is a school-based program focused on addressing the social determinants of health that have contributed to wide disparities in many communities across Michigan. The program offers elementary schools in a district the necessary resources to facilitate a healthier environment, prevent chronic disease, and improve the mental health of children. Programming throughout a school districts is an intentional and coordinated effort to facilitate sustainable, systems-wide change focused on healthy living opportunities, access to resources, education, and policies throughout entire communities. During the school year, the Building Healthy Communities staff, along with staff and administrators from each elementary school work collaboratively to implement a comprehensive wellness program, which includes eight components: administrative support, healthy classrooms, quality PE, active recess, school meals, after-school Healthy Kids Club, trauma-sensitive schooling, and Healthy@Home. At a district level, the BHC staff works collaboratively with district administrators and program partners to evaluate wellness policies, identify areas that need to be strengthened, and develop plans for implementation. Through this collaborative approach, students, staff, and communities benefit from policies that encourage health and wellness for students and their families before, during, and after the school day. The Building Healthy Communities program is a collaborative partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Michigan Fitness Foundation, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and Wayne State University’s Center for Health and Community Impact. The BHC program launched in 2009; since then, nearly 400 schools and 200,000 students have participated in the elementary school program and have experienced increased physical and emotional health, academic achievement, interest in healthy choices and activities, and school policies that support student health. Service members will be assigned to work collaboratively with BHC school coordinators to support the program implementation in targeted school districts across the Metro Detroit area. The Building Healthy Communities program utilizes a targeted approach to recruiting and selecting schools for the program, one that focuses on health, education, and economic disparities endemic to many under-resourced communities and schools that negatively impact their students’ social determinants of health.

Service members will be assigned to one or more school districts in Metro Detroit and be engaged in the following activities:

  • Collaborate with BHC staff to plan and implement in-school health-focused events
  • Assist with facilitating the BHC school meals component in select districts
  • Assist the BHC school coordinators with reviewing local school wellness policies and making suggestions for improvement
  • Collaborate with BHC staff to build a monthly Healthy @ Home family newsletter
  • Add to our Healthy@ Home virtual resource library with health tips for families
  • Establish a BHC virtual cooking class series
  • Assist with the creation of health-focused teacher professional development courses on topics related to nutrition education, classroom physical activity, and comprehensive school wellness programs
  • Create gardening unit for optional inclusion for BHC elementary schools
  • Coordinate school garden building efforts for any optionally participating schools
  • Identify funding opportunities for expanding school garden options for schools (to which they could optionally apply)

Metro Detroit ranks as the 11th most populous area in the United States, with a population of 3,734,090 and an area of 1,337.16 square miles. This urbanized area covers parts of the counties of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne and is sometimes referred to as the Detroit Tri-County Area. Metro Detroit is known for its automotive heritage, arts, entertainment, popular music, and sports. The area includes a variety of natural landscapes, parks, and beaches, with a recreational coastline linking the Great Lakes. Metro Detroit also has one of the largest metropolitan economies in America with seventeen Fortune 500 companies.

FoodCorps service members with Building Healthy Communities are part of a Michigan cohort that includes 19 service members in 9 communities across the state. FoodCorps service members have the opportunity to take advantage of a state rich in cultural and geographic diversity. We boast urban, suburban, and rural sites with their own unique set of engaging characteristics, as well as thought-provoking challenges. We welcome all to apply for an experience to learn, give back, and grow!

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ability to work independently
  • Strong verbal and written skills
  • Experience with working cooperatively with a diverse group of people