community leadership and advocacy training
CAN DO’s Community Leadership and Advocacy Training is an intense, 8-week curriculum modeled after national best practices, including the NAACP Advocacy Training Manual and the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP). The training is dedicated to the development of leaders who can advocate for the changes needed in their community with an overall goal of building community capacity and empowering residents to address local environmental and policy changes that will facilitate healthy eating and active living. However, the skills acquired during this program are applicable across the spectrum of issues communities may face that pose barriers to experiencing and accessing opportunities promoting positive health outcomes. These skills facilitate the development of a strong foundation to create change and enhance the sustainability of current and future initiatives pursued by community members. Throughout the training, participants meet once a week for 2 hours to engage in a series of interactive modules and activities that demystify the necessary steps towards addressing community issues. Participants identify a priority project via group consensus and utilize the information they learn and the resources provided to develop a plan of action that is ready for implementation by the conclusion of the program. Participants learn how to engage in the advocacy process, identify and prioritize issues, collect and leverage valuable data, involve key decision makers and stakeholders in the process, and organize their community around important issues in order to seek change. The ultimate focus of CAN DO’s Community Leadership and Advocacy Training is to train individuals to advocate on behalf of their own community. The knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable changes are placed in the hands of those who can make real change happen: the community members! To date, this training has been implemented 7 times in 5 communities with over 75 resident and organizational leaders and is now in English and Spanish! An increase in community engagement and perceived civic responsibility has developed among advocates that have completed this training. Partnership involvement by the Houston Health Department and Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services has been a valuable addition! Current status: Several advocates across communities are leading a campaign effort through Voices for Healthy Kids to influence food access in Houston and the State of Texas!