Hamburg Elementary School – A Parent’s as Champions Success Story

This past March ten parents representing seven Sussex and Warren County schools participated in a two day “Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) – Parents as Champions for Healthy Schools” workshop hosted by The Center’s School Health Specialists, Pamela Pastorino and Ashley LeBelle. After this training the parent participants were given the opportunity to apply for a $1,000 grant. Hamburg Elementary School, under the representation of parents Kathleen Kipp and Maryann Jervis, was one of these awarded schools. Hosting a Back to School Staff Wellness Week to promote positivity and a stress free start to the year was Kathleen and MaryAnn’s goal, but what Hamburg Elementary staff received was more than just a week of personal wellness. Through their hard work and dedication Kathleen and Maryann created a week-long morale boosting event, and ultimately, a bonding experience for the 62 staff members of their children’s school. One teacher even stating, “The school year has started with morale being very high. Fabulous start, so appreciated!” With the hopes of reminding staff that they have the support of the community, other parents volunteered their time to assist in Kathleen’s vision throughout the week as well. Beginning the week with massages was the perfect way to start the school year as relaxed as possible. Providing breakfast one day and a healthy lunch created by a local chef the next, the parents displayed value in keeping the staff fueled. On the fourth day local businesses; Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs and Creature Comfort Pet Therapy, brought in service dogs for staff to play with. Such therapy dog visits have been on the rise in schools and businesses as a way to de-stress employees. Judging by the pictures below, I think it’s safe to say the Hamburg staff left this little playdate feeling exactly that way. Finally, this all-inclusive Wellness Week wrapped up with a staff wide water balloon fight. What’s healthier than some friendly competition? After this thoughtfully planned week of appreciation was implemented letters and notes started pouring in from staff members expressing their gratitude. -“The amount of time and effort you put into these events was obvious and I want you to know it was greatly appreciated” -“The entire experience was positive and rewarding. I felt appreciated and less stressful” -“Thank you for a great week!” It is clear to see that this event put in place to show the staff that they are appreciated ended with the staff showing their appreciation back. Click here to see all of the benefits a Staff Wellness program can have on a school, as well as a step by step toolkit to create one, created by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. For more information on this and other school health related grants available please contact Ashley LeBelle or Pamela Pastorino at The Center 973-383-4787