Program video targets students’ health concerns

Cassie Monroe
Posted 5/31/12

Launching a YouTube video was only one of the Jefferson County Student Health Advisory Council’s goals this year, and it premiered last week. …

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Program video targets students’ health concerns


Launching a YouTube video was only one of the Jefferson County Student Health Advisory Council’s goals this year, and it premiered last week.

“The video was originally going to be more educational,” said Emily O’Winter, health and wellness coordinator for the district, said. ”But we decided to go with student input, so it is more of a promotional video.”

The video, “We Are Health: Students of Jeffco Public Schools,” can be found at It stars some members of the council, and other students at Jeffco. The video shows that students are concerned about health, and are interested in making steps to improve the health of their community, O’Winter said.

Jeffco is the only district in Colorado with a student health advisory council. The council is part of the Jeffco Healthy Schools initiative that was made possible by a national healthy schools grant, and was put in place this year for youth and adults to work together to make healthy changes in their schools.

”We started the student health advisory council this year, and it went incredibly well,” said Emily O’Winter.

Another of the committee’s goals was to gather students’ concerns about health in schools. The council managed to accomplish that, too, by having students at Jeffco Public Schools complete a survey asking which health issues are most important to students.

O’Winter said peer-to-peer education is one of the most effective tools educators can use, and the student advisory council worked hard to find what health concerns their classmates had.

After collecting survey results, the council found a big concern among students is drug and alcohol use. The video the students produce next year will focus on educating peers about the harms of drugs and alcohol.

JCSHAC President Michael Convey, sophomore at Pomona High School, did a lot of the voice-over work for this year’s video. He said that, from a member’s perspective, the the council is a great way for students who want to pursue a career in medicine to get experience, and to help adults stop thinking like adults.

”Adults think about things like money when they’re making decisions in the district,” Convey said, in regard to how the council would carry out its projects. ”Teenagers and kids think about the way to get the greatest turnout, and when the two collaborate great things happen.”

Kaiser Permanente funded the council’s activities this year.

Brian Harper, who oversees the Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre program, said part of Kaiser’s mission statement is to improve health in the community it serves.

”We’ve always looked to youth as advocates for health,” Harper said.

Ricky Casillas, a Kaiser employee who worked extensively with the student council throughout the year, said the students were eager to help their community, and their energy will keep the program’s momentum going.

”They are young adults who really want to make a difference and have a positive impact on their community,” Casillas said.

Kaiser plans to continue funding the program next year.

The 2011-12 council was made up of 18 students from seven high schools in the county. Ten of the students were seniors, and O’Winter said a new goal for the summer is recruiting members.


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