In just a few weeks, Parents United for Healthy Schools will be honored at our annual Change for Good luncheon on July 20. We’ll be celebrating the amazing work parents, principals and community members have done in the past decade. That’s right, 2016 is the 10th anniversary of Parents United for Healthy Schools.
Since 2006, Parents United has been a leading force in successfully advocating for healthy change in Chicago schools, from bringing back recess to transforming school food and making breakfast in the classroom available across the city. Parents United works with principals, teachers, school staff and students to advocate for healthy school environments and bring about positive change in Chicago schools.
Much of the success of this program is due to its unique parent empowerment model. The Parents United approach involves empowering parents to make wellness a central part of the home, school and community experience. Parents gain the knowledge and skills to develop strategies and organize school wellness teams to support health-promoting changes to food and fitness in schools.
Over the past 10 years, Parents United has organized more than 3,000 parent leaders to:
- Successfully advocate and collect more than 6,000 signatures to bring back recess to CPS schools after more than a 20-year absence
- Champion the Breakfast in the Classroom program at individual schools and at the district level and successfully advocate for all elementary schools to implement this effective model for serving school breakfast
- Tirelessly advocate for healthier school meal nutrition standards and work to increase parent awareness and feedback about the meal program
- Collect 7,000 signatures in support of daily PE, which helped lead to the Chicago Board of Education adopting a new PE policy
- Successfully advocate for the district to adopt a strong wellness policy and snack and beverage policy
- Pioneer the parent-led school wellness team model and support and implement health promoting changes—healthy celebrations to scheduling recess before lunch
This anniversary is a great time to celebrate all of the successes of Parents United and recognize the more than 3,000 empowered parent leaders that have been involved in those successes. But it’s also a time to look forward. For all of the great impact we’ve made, there’s more work to be done.
We’ve come a long way over the past 10 years, from organizing a city-wide rally of parents to provide testimony about their concerns about health and wellness in schools to supporting parents in leadership roles in wellness teams. We can’t wait to see what Parents United can accomplish in the next 10 years.
Please join us at the Change for Good luncheon as we share our vision to make schools healthier places where all children can learn and thrive. Be part of the movement for healthy students, healthy schools, a healthy Chicago and a healthy nation.