The Bridge Youth & Family Services has developed Healthy Together © program (HT)1; an innovative family education model for children (0-18y) and their families to support healthy lifestyles. The program involves a series of age-based group learning sessions that focus on healthy eating, physical activity, and community engagement and offers children and their caregivers easy to use tools to support healthy lifestyle choices. The program can be adapted for a variety of audiences and incorporated into existing programming.
The program consists of regular group sessions touching on key themes including food, nutrition, physical activity, relationships, and community. Each session provides tools and opportunities for families by engaging them in;
- Group learning activities
- Cooking and eating
- Fun physical activities
HT values participation by all family members, therefore promotes universal access regardless of their knowledge/skill level; families need not be overweight/ obese to participate in HT groups.
Over the past 5 years we have developed a comprehensive facilitator toolkit integrating lessons learned from Canada-wide implementation and evaluation, and is relevant and effective for population groups in different community contexts and capacities. Following are some examples of flexible approaches offered by HT;
- Explicit goals and key themes for each session, with an option to tailor content to meet unique participants’ needs and age groups (0-6, 7-12, 13-18y)
- Use of practical instructions and participant handouts with examples of activities that reflect everyday life situations
- Program material to suit varying group formats and time frames i.e. for drop in or registered groups
- Group sessions to be offered in rotation, during a fiscal /school year as part of regular service (e.g. CAPC, CPNP, AHS, FRP, School based/youth groups)
- Facilitator Training to highlight literacy, poverty and trauma – issues that may impact HT facilitation
- Use of regional/ local resources to encourage adaptations per region, culture and context (e.g. activity modifications, recipe replacements when working with multi-cultural/ ethnic and Aboriginal groups)
Interested in bringing HT to your community? We offer HT Facilitator Training for professionals/ organizations interested in bringing HT to their community. As a trained facilitator, you will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and resources to offer this family centered program within your community. Once you’ve completed the training event we provide on-going support to our facilitators with program updates, resource sharing and web access to all program materials.
1 The development of Healthy Together is funded by Public Health Agency of Canada’s innovation strategy—”Achieving Healthier Weights in Canada’s communities’.