When we look at all the factors that affect childhood obesity, it is almost an overwhelming task to consider how any one organization can influence the changes necessary to bring about significant improvements in their community. No one conference, church, school, university or health care organization can accomplish the tasks required. We must look for partners with like mission,
parallel vision, commitment and understanding of the needs of the community. Community partnerships are made when people of like goals and similar objectives begin to work together to make a difference for the individuals they seek to serve.
- Begin with an Internet search of “childhood obesity” and the name of your city or county.
- Call your local hospital, public health department or Chamber of Commerce to survey what agencies, services, and materials are available in your community to address nutrition, physical activity, and childhood obesity.
- Schedule appointments to get acquainted and share what your organization is doing. Explore the following questions:
- Which agencies serve the same population that your organization serves?
- Who is already championing the cause of childhood obesity? Who might jump on board?
- What needs and gaps exist?
- What resources are available?
- Each community contact can easily lead to another as you discover ways to link ideas, projects and people. A great question to ask is, Who else should we talk with about this?
- As you become familiar with health issues prevalent in your community, stay active by serving on agency boards or committees, and attending community health programs and events.
Partnering helps us achieve our mutual goals, make better use of resources, share expertise, target efforts, and keep all parties in the community strong. Building partnerships makes a difference in what we can accomplish in fighting the obesity epidemic. We need each other in order to have a healthy community.