This school year included a number of exciting milestones for Healthy NewsWorks student reporters and teachers and for our program.
Our Core Reporters in grades 3 to 8 contributed to the first edition of our By Kids, For Kids magazine. Their articles, illustrations, games, and reflections featured our theme for the year, “Caring for Our Earth and Ourselves.” If you haven’t seen the magazine yet, we’ve posted it on our website, along with activities that teachers and parents can do with their students.
Teachers responding to a survey welcomed the magazine into their classrooms. “There was a little bit of everything in the magazine,” one teacher said. “Each student had something they were interested in because the magazine had so much information throughout.”
Also during the school year, Healthy NewsWorks won its first film award, the Best Children’s Media award, at the San Diego International Kids’ Film Festival. The award honored our 2022 film, “How We Heal,” which centers on kids asking mental health experts, artists, a scientist, doctors, and even an NFL football player about how they cope with challenges. We continue to share the film with schools, companies, and community groups. Please let us know if you’d like to view it.
And soon, we will have our 2023 film available for viewing. It will include student-produced videos and two live student interviews with mental health experts Howard Stevenson, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania, and Tim Massaquoi, L.P.C., of The Ladipo Group in Philadelphia. The interviews were a highlight of our Spring Celebration in May.
In addition, we relaunched our website last fall with new branding. We hope that our students, teachers, and you find it easy to navigate. We have included special pages with classroom activities that teachers can use and our By Kids, For Kids platform, which showcases student work. Please check it out and tell the teachers and kids you know about it.
As has been the case since our start nearly 20 years ago, our student health newspapers are at the heart of all we do. Nearly 500 students in 16 Philadelphia-area schools participated in our Core Reporting Program this year and produced 37 newspapers for their school community and families. In the process, they learned about the connection between health and the environment, particularly around climate change. In addition, 1,000 children took part in either our Cub Reporter program for children in Grades K to 3 or participated in Special Lessons we offered on topics ranging from web-based research to handling stress.
Given the nature of journalism, our reporters learn writing, interviewing, and research skills. They also learn life skills such as how to present themselves, how to work as a team, and how to think critically. They also gain confidence, and they have fun. As one fifth-grade reporter wrote in a year-end reflection:
“I’ve learned that water is really important in life and especially for your health. I’ve recently been drinking way more water and started caring about my health more. And I’ve also been spending less time on my devices. … Healthy NewsWorks has taught me a lot of things, and I really wouldn’t have been motivated enough if I didn’t learn it from this program.”
Photo of East Norriton Bulldog Bulletin reporters with the final issue of the school year.