Linked Learning: A Summer Experience with Big Implications
Categories: Linked Learning, Public Health, Wellness Centers
July 17, 2015 — By Ashley Lewis
Last Thursday I walked into a small classroom on the campus of Manual Arts High School to deliver a training on public health messaging to students involved in the new Linked Learning program, sponsored in part by The L.A. Trust. Students participating in this program are interested in media, entertainment, and the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and are creating projects that will help educate their peers on healthy relationships, obesity prevention, and minor consent laws. I was very much excited to discuss how these students can create powerful presentations and messages regarding these issues by inspiring awareness, advocacy, and action amongst their peers, but after spending just two hours with them I felt I had learned more than they. While much of our training session was spent dissecting advertisements and videos with a focus on issues such as domestic violence, and physical health, these students enlightened me on issues they see on their campuses. Mental health and stress seemed to be a big issue, and many of the students recommended that taking out a few moments of their class time, or school day to dance to good music, or relax can be incredibly helpful in lessening some of the stress that comes with their day to day lives.
As week two of Linked Learning came to a close, the students presented first drafts of some of their projects. Storyboards for soon to be produced public service announcements, posters, and heavily research timelines on minor consent laws in California were among the projects being developed. As the students got feedback from myself and other adult allies of the Linked Learning program it became clear how invested these students are in taking action to not only make their campuses safe and healthy, but their communities as well. While the students participating in Linked Learning are gaining valuable communication, content development, and professional skills, many of their projects have a distinct goal of spreading awareness about the wellness centers on their campuses where students and community members can get health services. These students are kicking off their summers by participating in a great program, but the work they are producing and the insight they provide will have a huge impact on themselves, their schools, and their communities.
Ashley Lewis is a second year Master of Public Health Student at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. Her academic interests include community health and health communications and marketing. This summer Ashley is working with The L.A. Trust to develop resource guides for several wellness centers and develop communications strategies for the upcoming Tooth Fairy Convention and other projects.