The Health as Right School Program assembles teams of youth in high schools throughout VA, DC and MD to examine the pressing public health problems of our community. Student leaders are then empowered to create and carry out innovative solutions and service projects to address these problems. Youth teams are also given support in the form of a budget and CHHR volunteers as needed. Student leaders also go through a curriculum which educates them about public health, human rights, and skills needed to pursue social change.
While the Program is open to students of all backgrounds, it doubles as a supportive space for immigrant and refugee students coping with the emotional-social struggles of adjusting to a new culture and is a great way to bring together ESL and non-ESL students for common activities. The curriculum is tailored to cultivate vocabulary and power of expression for ESL students.
The Program is designed with a strong prevention aspect and incorporates annual research done by Fairfax County in Fairfax County Public Schools, the Youth Survey, which identifies 6 assets which greatly reduce behaviors such as drug/alcohol abuse, sex, and gang participating if a young person has a combination of 3 in their life:
- High Personal Integrity
- Performing Community Service
- Having Teachers Recognize Good Work
- Having Community Adults to Talk to
- Participating in Extracurricular Activities
- Having Parents Available for Help
The Health as Right School Program is designed to cultivate 5 of these assets, missing only having parents available for help.