New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Camden (NJPHK-Camden) has partnered with UrbanPromise Ministries to develop and implement a school wellness strategy for their schools, afterschool and summer programs. Our first lesson was getting to know the UrbanPromise culture which encourages a more holistic approach of engaging its students and families by using language such “Strategy” rather than “Policy”—setting a more positive tone to our journey in improving school wellness. We are in draft #3 of a comprehensive school wellness strategy that encompasses school foods, a Farm to School program, physical activity & staff wellness as key components. Their Wellness Center, directed by Rebecca Bryan, MSN CRNP, is also facilitating a school wellness council that consists of teachers, volunteers and community members who are now engaged in our partnership. In addition, we have partnered with Camden’s Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) and FoodCorps to explore how to incorporate their existing school garden into their curriculum. CFET and Foodcorps are already existing partners through the NJPHK-Camden & Campbell’s Healthy Communities Initiative work—making this collaboration a natural fit to our overall goal of making Camden a healthy community.
This week, we have recruited Camden Community Charter School to also develop and implement a school wellness strategy and possibly piloting a Farm to School program. We are looking forward to working with these two new school partners who are setting a great example of schools shifting their traditional way of educating students with health and wellness in mind.