As a school year unlike any other comes to an end, staff at our school-based health centers are making plans for the 2021-22 academic year. One of those plans is going to mash up health awareness and performance, thanks in part to a grant from the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts.
Youth Health Advisory Councils are a key part of our four high school clinics at Roosevelt, Senn, Sullivan, and Uplift high schools. Building on our work with the councils, next year we’ll offer students the opportunity to process their experiences with physical and mental health through a performance project based on the theme “Our Covid Year.”
“I’m excited about this project,” said Stephanie Blagaich, senior coordinator of practice transformation & quality for our school-based health centers. “We’re hoping students can learn as well as create something that reflects their experiences.” Blagaich and Javonte Barber, manager for administrative services & school relations will partner with school performing arts coaches, who will work with students.
Blagaich, who started at Heartland Health Centers as a National Health Corps fellow, said peer education is a powerful way for young people to learn about health. “Obviously students are going to listen to their friends and I think that’s something we’re going to maximize,” she said. “Students can learn about performing arts and from providers, then figure out how to bring those things together.”
Ralla Klepak, the namesake of the foundation supporting this work, was a legendary Chicago attorney whose career accomplishments spanned many areas of the law. She was well-known for her precedent-establishing struggles on behalf of the LGBTQ community and tireless efforts in family law. Her foundation continues her work by providing grants that benefit disadvantaged children and individuals with disabilities.
We look forward to sharing more news about this project as it develops!
Photo: Amanda Solon, Heartland Health Centers senior Development director, receives a check from Arianna Halpert, program coordinator at the Ralla Klepak Foundation for Education in the Performing Arts, courtesy Ralla Klepak Foundation