On Tuesday night, elementary and middle school student authors had a book launch for their 2014 publication Leading Healthy Change in Our Communities.
The book was published as part of Healthy NewsWorks, a program that trains students across the region as health reporters for their school and community. The program, founded by Marian Uhlman, a former reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and is currently in over a dozen schools in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
For the book, students interviewed 14 influential adults who have had a positive influence on public health in a variety of ways. Leaders ranged from those directly involved with health care, such as Dr. Patricia DeRusso, who is in charge of the Healthy Weight Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; to Jim Ellis, aquatics director at the Salvation Army Kroc Center.
At the event students and their interview subjects signed copies of the books for guests. Keynote speaker Michael Useem, Director of The Center for Leadership and Change at Wharton encouraged the audience to be leaders in their own communities. “Getting out there and doing it is the best school for leadership”, said Useem.
Several student authors spoke about their experiences interviewing leaders and working as Healthy NewsWorks reporters. Jessica Hale, a student at Hancock Elementary in Norristown, said that she was “scared and nervous” about doing the interviews at first, but gradually gained confidence. Hale said that she felt good about the impact she makes through her writing. “I liked that I could teach a people, big and small about how to be healthy.”
Olympic rower Esther Lofgren, Quest Diagnostics Community Wellness Ambassador, talked about how what it took for her to win her gold medal and encouraged student journalists to dream big and stay optimistic. “And one day your dream will be your reality”
At the end of the program each student author took the stage to be presented with a gold medal of their own.
To nominiate a health leader for the 2015 publication, click on this link.
Newsworks.org is a media partner with Healthy NewsWorks, which is a wholly separate media organization.