There are many ways to advocate for healthier schools and communities. We've organized tools in the interactive graphic above, plus we've put together a Resource Library and a page about Wellness Policies that will help, whether you're a seasoned advocate, or just getting started. Whatever the case, there are some basic steps that will keep you organized and focused:
1. Determine the scope of your advocacy
Some people may just want tools to help them talk to their children on an individual level about school food, weight bias, or food marketing in schools. Others may be ready to have a broader impact at a state or national level. Think about where you want to start, and use the graphic above to guide you to the appropriate tools.
2. Conduct your research
The more you know about the issue you want to address, the more effective of an advocate you'll be. We've gathered for you the most important and up-to-date information on a variety of issues. With science and research on your side, it will be a lot easier to argue your case when you bring your concerns to decision makers like school boards or PTAs.
3. Set your goals
This could be something as simple as making a goal to talk to five other parents about what they think about vending machines in schools. Whatever your goals, it will help if you write them down, make sure that they are realistic, and that they are measurable, having clear signs of success.
4. Track your progress
Any time you talk to a school official or have a meeting with other parents--whatever activities you pursue, you will thank yourself later if you write down whom you talked to, when you spoke, and about what. Also pay attention to what opportunities you discovered, or what barriers you faced. This will help you understand who will be your best allies, what problems need to be addressed, and let you see both how far you've come towards reaching your goals, and how much further you need to go.