Our Mission & History
A Look Back at 20
How can children understand what good health is – what it looks, feels and tastes like – and how important it is to their future selves?
Empowering healthy habits and transforming environments where children live, learn and play
This is our mission – if we want to change the health behaviors of children, we have to change the environments where they are.
Today we work in all the settings where kids live, learn and play – in schools, child care centers and out of school time (OST) sites – to model active and healthy learning experiences and to help educators, parents and communities extend those opportunities into a larger culture of health.
An historic turnaround
At our start in 1999, our founders Andy Isakson and Mary Johnson sought a way to counter the rising tide of health issues affecting our state’s children. After partnering with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, they created a mobile health program to bring empowering messages and experiences directly to elementary school students, staff and families. Our work has then branched out to every setting and every age and stage of a child’s life.
And so, our efforts have followed the research – which continues to emphasize the importance of individual experiences and systemic changes to the culture, climate and physical environment that supports and nurtures each child.
Balancing advocacy and activation
It is this dual focus – this balance between research and fieldwork, advocacy and activation – that fuels our work.
We stay very active in the public health realm – participating in academic research around children’s health issues and working with our mission partners to create new programs and health initiatives.
And yet we remain equally focused on boots-on-the-ground activation – launching statewide trainings or working with district or school health teams to draft action plans for transforming their environments and communities.
Everything we learn from our collaborations with researchers and mission partners we then share and apply directly at the school, early care, or community level. The evidence or strategies gleaned from our work then informs and reanimates each program, training or partnership we support.
This dual commitment to furthering children’s health is what propels our core program model as we guide our education partners through the immersive experience of becoming Health Empowered.
As we cross the 20-year mark, please join us as we celebrate this important milestone and look forward to what’s next.