KC Healthy Kids is proud to join more than 100 businesses recognized for workplace wellness and steps taken to keep staff healthy.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Healthy KC Initiative is recognizing 132 businesses and organizations as Healthy KC Workplace Wellness Certified. KC Healthy Kids received platinum level certification.
For 2020, Workplace Wellness Certification had a specific focus on what policies and measures businesses implemented to ensure the health and wellbeing of their workforce, as well as creating a more inclusive and equitable environment to ensure employees’ mental health.
"As a nonprofit that advances the health and well-being of children and families through community-driven initiatives and advocacy, a healthy workplace culture has always been a priority at KC Healthy Kids. The Chamber’s certification motivated us to do even more, like establishing a formal wellness committee and offering regular mindfulness moments during staff meetings, to name a few,” says Danielle Robbins-Gregory, President/CEO of KC Healthy Kids.
"Over the past year, the wellness committee has helped us continue to strengthen our connections as a staff when we can’t be together in the office. The committee took suggestions from staff and arranged for a virtual happy hours, a watercolor workshop and distanced coffee dates at a park.”
The Healthy KC Workplace Wellness Certification program recognizes area organizations for innovation and excellence in promoting a culture of health in the workplace. Certifications range from Honorable Mention up to Platinum and are based on five pillars of health: healthy eating, active living, tobacco cessation, work-life integration, and design-built environment.
The Healthy KC Workplace Wellness Certification has taken place in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020 after the certification was moved to every two years. The next certification will be in 2022.
Kids who attended our 2020 Champions for Health Youth Summit put their plans to make a better world onto cotton squares that were later stitched into two quilts by artist NedRa Bonds.
Two-hundred students designed quilt squares based on the stories NedRa told them about other youth activists and the question for the day, "What is your leadership superpower?"
NedRa is an American quilter, activist and retired teacher, born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in the historic Quindaro neighborhood. Read more about NedRa
Congratulations to the following classrooms that participated in the Champions for Health Challenge! Winning classrooms will receive $1000 awards for health and wellness projects at their schools.
See the Winning Submissions
The challenge encourages students to think critically about how their surroundings—walking trails or broken sidewalks, safe playgrounds or blighted lots, schoolyard gardens or fast food restaurants—impact their health.
Past winners have purchased playground equipment, water bottle fountains, pedal desks, and hosted Zumba parties, local food tastings and more. All projects are designed for kids by kids.
Since the contest began in 2013, KC Healthy Kids has awarded $61,000 to 136 classrooms in the six-county metro area.
Challenge Winners – $1,000 Awards
Honorable Mention Recipients – $100 Awards
Learn more about the Champions for Health Challenge
On December 27, 2020 the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 was signed into law. The $900 billion pandemic relief bill extends and enhances aid programs that were set to expire at the end of the year.
A full summary of the bill is available here. Our policy team has highlighted emergency relief for food and farm programs, workers and businesses.
Food and Farm Workers
Food and Farm Businesses
For more information and resources, check out our COVID-19 Policy Resource Guide.
Update November 19, 2020 We are thrilled to announce the Complete Streets ordinance was passed unanimously by the UG Board of Commissioners this evening! Thank you to BikeWalkKC for leading this collaborative effort and all of the community organizations who supported Complete Streets in Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County.
Update October 26, 2020 The Complete Streets ordinance unanimously passed the Public Works and Safety committee this evening and will head to the Board of Commissioners for a vote on November 19, 2020. If you live or work in Kansas City, Kansas or Wyandotte County, join us in speaking out for safe and accessible streets for people of all ages, abilities and modes of transportation.
Next month, the United Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas will vote on a Complete Streets ordinance nearly ten years after passing a resolution stating their commitment to Complete Streets. We support this Complete Streets ordinance, and here’s why.
Why do we need Complete Streets?
Physical activity, like walking and biking, is good for kids’ physical, cognitive and mental health. The 2020 Kansas City Regional Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth reports that just 5.7% of kids in the Kansas City metro walk to school. Traffic-related danger is one of the main reasons parents are afraid to let their kids walk or bike to school, and for good reason. Earlier this year, a middle-schooler and a school crossing guard were hit and injured or killed by cars in Kansas City, Kansas. But pedestrian injuries and fatalities are not inevitable. Our streets are dangerous because they are designed for cars, not people. Sidewalks and walking paths can ease fears and promote safe physical activity, but only 32% of residents in Wyandotte County live in a highly walkable neighborhood, according to National Walkability Index.
What are Complete Streets?
Complete Streets policies set standards so streets are designed to be safe and accessible for people of all ages, abilities and modes of transportation, including kids walking and biking to school or the park. Complete Streets reduce injuries and deaths from vehicle crashes and improve pedestrian safety by slowing and calming traffic. The 2019 Dangerous by Design report shows that people of color and people in low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately impacted by pedestrian fatalities, often because infrastructure is lacking or in poor condition due to ongoing disinvestment. People living in these neighborhoods are also more likely to lack access to a vehicle and experience poor health outcomes. That's why the United Government’s Complete Streets ordinance prioritizes low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
Learn how you can speak out for walkable neighborhoods and healthy communities with The Walking Detective or Champions for Health so kids have safe routes for walking and biking.
Images: Google Maps
Here are 10 ways you can speak out for good food policy in Kansas City today and everyday.
Why should I teach my child mindfulness? If you’re a parent who currently practices mindfulness, you already know the answer to this question. If you’re new to the practice, it might surprise you to learn there are many positive aspects of mindfulness.
Kansas and Missouri are among just 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid. This must change, and we need your help.
Many of our initiatives at KC Healthy Kids focus on improving community food security, which is defined as a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice. By its very definition, community food security means building food system equity. We cannot succeed in that goal without addressing racial injustice.
We cannot advance the health and well-being of kids and their communities — our mission — if we do not address systemic racism and White supremacy culture.
This work starts within our agency. We understand that it is possible to do harm unintentionally, even when we believe we are doing good. Further, we understand that although our work has always aimed to further equity, we have also been complicit in systemic racism by, for example: failing to examine how the structure of our initiatives can privilege White voices and interests, failing to consistently and explicitly name policies and systems as racist when they have disparate impacts, and failing to challenge inequities in how nonprofits are funded.
We want to do better. In our statement issued on June 6, 2020, we committed to doing so in at least 4 ways. In this, our second statement, we describe how we are following through on this commitment. We are preparing additional updates which will explore the many ways we are taking action in yet more detail.
The urgency and impact of racial injustice in our work demands both immediate action and lasting efforts. We are therefore making a durable commitment to this work by evaluating and updating the guiding documents, including: Employee Handbook, Finance Manual, Strategic Plan and others to include specific policies, methods and goals for building an anti-racist agency culture and improving racial equity within our agency and through our initiatives.
This is not a one time commitment; it includes annually defining the tactics, milestones and frequency for strategies outlined below. We will complete the first round of this process by year end, 2020.
Learn: Increase staff and board knowledge and skills, and build an anti-racist agency culture committed to advancing racial equity.
Assess: Conduct self-assessments and accountable evaluations to understand, monitor and adapt our efforts at advancing racial equity.
Action: Identify short- and long-term actions for us as an organization, and in our initiatives which:
Although some of this work will take months to complete, and nearly all of it will be ongoing, we have already begun to take action. Here are a few highlights about those efforts, which we’ll expand upon in forthcoming articles.
Photos: A grocery worker talks with Jane Philbrook, Kansas City, Kansas Commissioner; Maxine Drew, board president of Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools meets with students from her district; Marquita Williams, an early education professional, encourages children to use their gross motor skills; Jamesha Price, a former teacher at M.E Pearson, shows children how to plant seeds at Splitlog Farm and Orchard.