Community-based organizations (CBOs) are getting involved with We Can!™ by implementing the program’s components in settings such as YMCAs, Girls & Boys Clubs, faith-based organizations, and other settings.
A variety of CBOs have already joined the We Can! movement. We Can! sites, such as Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth, are using program materials and messages to improve community health.
Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth (LCHAY)
Lane County (Eugene and Springfield), Oregon
In September 2004, the Lane Coalition for Healthy Active Youth developed out of the Lane County Medical Society’s public health efforts on childhood obesity. Now totaling more than 110 members, LCHAY includes community leaders in medicine, education, public health, nutrition, fitness/recreation, public transit, the food industry, and academia. Its mission is “to prevent childhood obesity by mobilizing our community to adopt active lifestyles and healthful nutrition.” Working through the local youth service, LCHAY implemented youth curricula through after-school programs with the City of Eugene Recreation Services, Willamalane Parks and Recreation, Lane County/OSU Extension Service, the YMCA, and the Boys and Girls Club.
Key successes for LCHAY include recruiting 47 parents for the Parent Curriculum with strong retention through the entire course. LCHAY implemented the We Can! Parent Curriculum four times at local community and swimming centers. Other successes included receiving a 21st Century Grant for $150,000/5-year period to support We Can! programming in three local elementary schools and the expanding the partnership with Safeway grocery stores to provide $300 each month to support healthy food for the nutrition components of We Can!.
LCHAY conducted a multitude of community events and incorporated We Can! into five community events that ranged in audiences from 500 to 5,000 participants. For example, LCHAY participated in multiple annual multicultural events involving the whole community. As well, LCHAY implemented four CATCH Kids Club programs in an after-school setting four to five days a week for several weeks; and implemented Media-Smart Youth at a Boys and Girls Club. A total of 10 students, including three boys and seven girls, participated.
Finally, LCHAY has an extensive network in place with a 110-member coalition, representing approximately 25 local agencies, institutions, or organizations. The site also developed relationships with two local radio stations, received media coverage on their parent program, and published an article in their local paper. Its partnerships were instrumental in supplying them with additional resources for programming.
Benton County Healthy Weight and Lifestyle Coalition
The Benton County Healthy Weight and Lifestyle Coalition, formed in December 2001, brings together individuals, families, communities, businesses, schools, worksites, healthcare systems, organizations, and city and county governments. Together, they work to improve the health of Benton County residents and reduce the risk of chronic diseases through daily physical activity and healthy eating. The Benton County site added We Can! to its effort to support healthy choices through policy promotion and environmental changes in 2005.
Key successes for the Benton County Coalition included hosting a Halloween party for children which involved many members of the community, developing PSAs for local media, and the successful collaboration of the Benton County library, Park and Recreation, and the Public Health Departments which helped to implement We Can! not only in the urban areas but, as well, got the program into rural areas. As a result, Benton County was able to implemented Media-Smart Youth five times at three elementary schools, one middle school, and a parks and recreation center. At all locations, a total of 87 participants met once a week for 90 minutes.
Benton County also participated in seven community events that attracted more than 1,000 community members, generated local media coverage, and strengthened partnerships with 16 organizations in its community. For example, Benton County hosted a Turn-Off TV event where the site encouraged parents and children to turn their televisions off for one week.
Finally, Benton County ’s site organizers were already a part of an extensive coalition with 16 partners that participated as We Can! partners and contributed to the success of the site’s activities and efforts. Benton County also placed three articles in the Corvallis Gazette-Times, issued a press release, received local radio airtime, and ran its PSA on the local cable channel for three months.
Other We Can! Sites Running the Program in CBO Settings
Many We Can! community sites across the country are working in CBO settings, including Ahwatukee Foothills YMCA (Phoenix, AZ), Ontario-Montclair YMCA (Ontario, CA), YMCA of Metropolitan Washington (Washington, DC), Pennyrile Allied Community Services (Mayfield, KY), and YMCA of the Brandywine Valley (Coatesvile, PA).
Find contact information for these We Can! community sites and other sites working in CBO settings in the complete list of We Can! sites.
We Can! and the We Can! logo are trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).