Community Commons is proud to be the home of Salud America! Growing Healthy Change; a site dedicated to empowering healthy community change for Latino children locally and across the nation.
Inspiring stories and innovative ideas continue to emerge from the Growing Healthy Change site and we are thrilled to be able to share one with you.
Sharing School Playgrounds
The residents of Alice, Texas had few recreational areas to participate in physical activity. Dr. Grace Everett, Superintendent of the Alice Independent School District (ISD), was pleased to see that some city residents were using the school walking trails to be physically active, but without any formal agreement, there was no way for the school and the city to work together to promote that as an option.
“I wanted to mesh the two,” said Dr. Everett, “come up with something formal where we could work together with the city to promote good health.”
With the help of Migrant Health Partners, Dr. Everett and the city came together with a shared-use agreement that opened the school trails for use by everyone after school hours. Soon after, the gift of a 300-acre park to the school district furthered the reach of the share-use agreement and, in time, the school sports fields and track were added.
Robert de Leon, then program director of Migrant Health Promotions, said, “Being able to use the agreement here with Alice ISD is something I feel other cities and town throughout Jim Wells County can model after so we create greater opportunity to increase physical activity.”
Tools to Help You Make This Change
The first step de Leon took was to learn about shared-use agreements, also called joint-use agreements, with school districts. Robert Ogilvie, former vice-president for strategic engagements at ChangeLab Solutions penned a Guest Voice in which he outlined how Joint-Use Agreements are key to maximizing public facilities. Salud America! also has a brief that walks you through the steps the city of Alice went through to create their shared-use agreement.
The Salud America! Growing Healthy Change site features a policy map that allows you to search for community health changes by topic or location. Each policy has links to stories from other communities that are working on similar issues, such as the San Antonio school that used their track to launch a community walking program.
The Map Room
While the Alice school district was very open to looking at shared-use agreements, other districts might be harder to convince. Maps and data showing how physical activity effects the health of a community can help you make the case to policy makers.
For example, these maps demonstrate the percentage of adults that do not participate in leisure-time physical activity and the percentage of people diagnosed with heart disease in the south Texas area. The two maps together can help highlight the true picture of how low physical activity effects a community so that policy makers are more open to exploring options.
Community Health Reports
Indicator reports offer another excellent opportunity to look at factors that affect the health of your region. Create a Community Health Needs Assessment Full Indicator report by simply entering your state and county (or several counties) and the data automatically populates for you.
From there you can explore information such as demographics, social and economic factors, and health behaviors and outcomes. The data and visual graphics are downloadable and can be put into your presentations or grant applications.
Unsure about how to use the tools highlighted above? Our support page has short videos and how-to exercises to get you stated.
Learn more about this Salud America! success story or enjoy our other Salud Hero features, “Roll Models” Ride for Fitness, Health Clinic Opens a Farmers Market, Healthier Concession Stands at Schools, and Viva La Salud in the Grocery Store.
This is why we created Community Commons — to help you use the latest technology and tools to make lasting change. Share your stories and strategies so that we can collaborate, learn, and make change together.