Orange County has a reputation for good health and for being one of the most affluent communities in the country, but still, there is a high disparity between family income and the cost of living, which affects the health of those living in economically disadvantaged areas. Our goal is to increase the number of healthy youth by one-third in Orange County by 2024.
Our Healthy Schools Initiative is an evidence-based effort that partners with parents, school districts, agencies and community organizations to empower schools to promote the health and well-being of their community. We believe it is a shared responsibility to work together and create beneficial school environments to ensure the overall prosperity and success of each child.
INVESTING IN THE HEALTH OF ORANGE COUNTY’S FUTURE
- Students who are physically active tend to do better academically, have better memory, better classroom behaviors and miss less school days.
- Adolescents who are healthy are more likely to graduate from high school on-time and attend college or post-secondary education.
- Healthy youth will grow up to be healthy, productive adults.
- If we invest in the health of our youth today, we can ensure a healthier tomorrow for future generations.
Three Programmatic Pillars
Increase the number of physical activity opportunities and active play minutes at school. This can be in the form of hiring a physical education teacher, promoting safe places to play and be active, or parent-led structured play activities.
Improve nutrition literacy among students, teachers and parents, includes providing healthier choices for foods and beverages. Examples include but are not limited to, installing hydration stations that offer great-tasting, temperature-regulated water over sugary drinks, or improving access to fresh fruits and vegetables through school pantries and school-based farmer’s markets.
Having a community- and parent-led wellness committee at the school site enables sustainable policy changes and ensures the culture of the school to be centered around health and wellness.
Within one year of participating in our Healthy Schools Initiative, these schools have made the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s 2018 list of Healthiest Schools for making significant changes that encourage healthier eating and physical activity for students and staff.
- Pacific Drive Elementary – Silver Award
Fullerton School District
- Walnut Elementary – Silver Award
La Habra City School District
- Whitaker Elementary – Bronze Award
Buena Park School District
Join Our Fight
We’re currently able to fund 3 local schools, but wouldn’t it be great if we could add a few more? If you’d like to support Orange County United Way’s Healthy Schools Initiative and bring the program to a high-need school, you can click here to donate.
What School Officials Are Saying
“The involvement I have had with United Way has been absolutely amazing. It was like a major think tank. We were able to bring in an outstanding physical education teacher who has inspired our students.”
“Since the start of the Healthy Schools Initiative, we’ve seen parents who are on-board with the new policy and fewer sugary treats coming through our office. More students are eating during lunch, feeling full and are better behaved throughout the day.”