The Public Schools of Brookline’s Wellness Committee examines and supports a variety of programs addressing student health. Active since 2007, the committee addresses a range of youth-serving initiatives in areas of nutrition, fitness/recreation, mental health, chemical health, teen dating violence, and climate change awareness.
The new BROOKLINE THRIVE GUIDE is an easy-to-use, comprehensive list of local organizations and resources, useful to both service providers and Brookline residents who wish to find the right organization to help them with their needs quickly and easily.The Guide was developed through the efforts of Women and Girls Thriving in Brookline, a Collective Impact initiative. Our mission is to “Bring Brookline residents and organizations together to expand and create learning, participation, community, and leadership opportunities for financially-challenged women and girls, building on the resiliency and strengths of the whole community.”
SAVE THE DATE! On June 22, Brookline will holdThe 20th Anniversary of the Public Health Policy event, moderated by Michael Dukakis. Click here for full details.
And don't miss International Day of Yoga in Brookline, June 21. Click here to see the flyer.
NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK APRIL 2-10
Brookline is participating in National Public Health Week with a wide variety of activities. Click here for the full calendar. And ladies, check out Girls Night Out!
WHAT ARE BROOKLINE KIDS UP TO THESE DAYS?
Did you know that among Brookline adolescents alcohol and marijuana use is down, but reports of overwhelming stress and anxiety are up – 82% among 9th-12th graders, 79% among 7th-8th graders. These are just some of the key results from the Brookline Public School’s latest Student Health Survey, part of Brookline Department of Public Health’s Healthy Brookline Vol. XVII. The survey’s Executive Summary as well as a Summary Comparison Tables pdf are now available as well. Check them out -- you’ll find out just what Brookline adolescents are up to these days. In addition, the recent Brookline Wellness Committee summit “What Are Brookline Kids Really Up To?” examined some of the latest statistics, and participants brainstormed ideas for addressing many of the most pressing concerns regarding stress, marijuana and alcohol use, technology, adult/student connections, body image and eating disorders, and relationships/sexuality. Click here for the “Parent Network Update” summarizing the event’s findings and recommendations.
ARE YOU READY FOR AN EMERGENCY?
The Brookline Medical Reserve Corps just released an excellent new brochure, "Be Prepared!" on the basics families should have on hand and resources they might need in case of an emergency. You can download a pdf here...
October 19-24 is Domestic Violence Awareness Week
In commemoration of Domestic Violence Awareness Week Oct. 19-24, Brookline High School's achievement program for low-income students Steps to Success is presenting a week of special activities. Click here for the full schedule.
On Nov. 7, the Brookline Rotary is hosting its annual FUNdraiser "Dancing with the Brookline Stars," which raises money for a number of health-related charities. Click here for more information.
Bountiful Brookline Celebrates National Food Day
On Oct. 25, 2-5 p.m., Bountiful Brookline celebrated "National Food Day" with a screening of "Just Eat It" followed by a panel discussion at the Lincoln School. summer film series focuses on a variety of food oriented documentaries, with locally-sourced snacks on hand as well. Check it out!
Also, on Oct. 22, the "One for Me...One for the Brookline Food Pantry" drive and the "Real Food Scavenger Hunt," were held at the Centre St. Brookline Farmers' Market. The Lawrence School held its own special Food Day Festival. Read here...
Guidelines for Brookline Food Pantry
In collaboration with the Brookline Food Pantry, the Brookline Department of Public Health has developed guidelines for donating foods. The Brookline Food Pantry welcomes food donations and aims to provide healthy and nutritious foods. Often people are interested in donating to the food pantry, but are uncertain about the types of foods accepted, expiration dates, and which products are most helpful for patrons of the food pantry. Check out the handy, one-page "Healthy Donations Guidelines."
Food Literacy in Schools
Food Justice Activist and Wellness Committee member Bettina Neuefeind challenges us to think about ways that we can connect the classroom to the cafeteria in ways that boost food literacy in our schools. Recently, she talked at the 431 Project Summit in Pittsfield, VT. The 431 Project (http://www.the431project.com.) is an action incubator driven by a group of passionate thought leaders committed to effecting change and making healthy the new normal for the next generation. Watch her talk here...
REPORTS/UPDATES -- Spring 2015
Wellness Summit on “Sexuality and Brookline Teens”
Sexuality plays a role in so many facets of teen life, from how kids dress in the morning to how they feel about themselves in interactions with peers during the school day. In April, B-PEN (Brookline Parent Education Network) and Brookline’s Wellness Committee sponsored a community discussion on teen sexuality addressing social media, sexting's social and legal consequences, the impact of media on self-esteem and body image, the new norms of the dating, hook-up culture, the role of parents, LGBTQ issues, and problem of sexual harassment/assault and teen dating violence. The summit gathered a select group of school administrators and staff, mental health and public health professionals, community members, Brookline parents, and students to help craft strategies to better support Brookline teens. READ THE FULL REPORT...
Town of Brookline Department of Public Health
Two initiatives reflect a continued focus on issues of climate change, especially around educating younger people. On Oct. 8, Car Free School Day at all K-8 schools encouraged students to find ways to get to their schools without using a car. A Climate Change Project is planned for February 2-8. Efforts to promote wellness include a series of Community Flu Clinics (more info at 730-2336, a big emphasis in all schools on hand washing for illness prevention, and activities to celebrate national Food Day in October. (Check out this printable one-page on "The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen" to avoid the most pesticide-laden foods.)
Domestic Violence Initiatives
Nationally, October was Domestic Violence Awareness month, and several local initiatives contributed. BIG (formerly BATV) sponsored a community event Oct. 10 with panel discussions and film screenings. Purple bow ties were sold to benefit JAL (Jennifer A. Lynch Committee Against Domestic Violence), which sponsored a teen video contest. BHS Peer Leaders participated in a number of projects aimed at students, and B-PEN created tip sheets and reminder messages for parents to communicate with their children reinforcing the importance of healthy relationships.
Health and Fitness
Parents are continuing to discuss student stress, even at the grade school level. An excellent article written by parents in the Wellness Committee to raise awareness of student stress and mental health issues was published in the TAB. Efforts continue to promote discussion among the entire community for parent awareness. For students, efforts are focused on expanding health education, which continues to be one of most effective ways to address unhealthy behaviors with a curriculum that is research-based and comprehensive, not only linking nutrition and physical activity to general health, but including information about mental health and stress management. Efforts also include plans to bring more consistency in what guidance and health education deliver at each of the schools. B-PEN has been collaborating with the AWARE program sending out parent letters with talking points about what kids are learning so parents can continue conversation at home.
At BHS, a group is in the process of analyzing and strategizing the issue. Liz Gorman is working with Deb Holman on ideas for putting together a 21st Century Fund grant proposal spanning several years to bring stress education/ mind/ body/ relaxation response/ mindfulness to all students as a part of their high school education. This is part of a bigger umbrella that includes the initiatives happening with depression curriculum, a faculty council, and student government discussions around homework. A Wellness Committee sub-group is meeting to focus specifically on coordinating all the mental health/guidance issues in the schools.
New program books are now available showing new and expanded programs, such as “Intro to Skateboarding.” The department continues to offer free concussion baseline screenings. Rec’s successful summer included a free and reduced lunch program for kids who needed it, and a recreational therapist was on hand for six weeks. Rec currently is developing programs for out of school time to complement the health initiatives in schools.
BHS’s Peer Leadership program has initiated several projects focusing on 1) Substance abuse; 2) teen dating violence and domestic abuse; 3) mental health and stress; and 4) bullying /internet safety. In addition, student members have been involved in pressing for a warrant article to ban e-cigarettes everywhere tobacco is banned and banning sales to minors. They also participated in 7th and 8th grade AWARE classes and gave a persuasive presentation at the senior PTO meeting on stress, reading a series of powerful “letters to my parents” and distributing B-PEN’s Parent Tip Sheet: http://www.b-pen.org/uploads/2/9/2/9/2929884/senior_parent_tips.docx
School Health Services
School Health Services continues a big push to stress the importance of hand washing and get information out on the enterovirus, sending around updates and handouts to nurses, parents, and janitors involved with keeping surfaces clean.
Last year was the best year for participation in the Food Services program. However, the breakfast program needs better participation and exposure. It is available at 7:30 am to anyone at all the K-12 schools. Food Services director Alden Cadwell is meeting with interested committee members to devise ways to encourage parents to eat breakfast with their kids, publicize program and menus. Another focus of Food Services is to get as many greens as possible into school menus. The salad bar at BHS is extremely successful at BHS, and care is taken to limit germ spread. Monster energy drinks were available and caused concern, but will be discontinued. Cadwell and parent Bettina Neuefeind have formed a School Food Subcommittee to investigate new Wellness Policy Standards on school nutrition, which are more stringent and need monitoring for enforcement, and explore developing a district policy. The committee’s next meeting will be December 11, 8 a.m. at Town Hall. The first course of action will be to determine actual food practices throughout all schools in the district, and, while that study is in progress, to think about what a next iteration of the Local School Wellness Policy might include.