By Board President Cindy Mitchell
It has been a privilege, over several months with direction from consultants Hedges & Associates, for our board of directors to conduct an in-depth audit of Social Health Association of Indiana. With information from phone interviews, an online survey, a staff assessment and comparison to other youth-serving nonprofits in Central Indiana, we have developed a three-year strategic plan and annual action plans through September 2018. A generous grant from the Indianapolis Foundation for a strategic capacity-building enabled us to complete this planning phase.
On the Right Track
The good news, SHA has been delivering impactful programs to Indiana youth for over 70 years quite successfully. This year SHA health educators will teach 41,000 boys and girls in 37 school districts representing 15 counties throughout Indiana. We’re not planning to change our approach to health education.
A Deeper, Long-term Impact
We are, however, going to deepen our impact on each youth served. Rather than try to serve every school district in Indiana and spreading our resources thin, we want to ensure the schools we are already serving are taking full advantage of our K-8th grade programs. Is each student receiving the full spectrum of our quality programs such as Step Up for Kindness!™, Human Growth and Development, Making A Difference!® and Communicating with And Respecting Each other (CARE™) offerings? Providing a continuum of learning healthy lifestyles for youth ages 5-14 is a significant investment that will result in kids making responsible choices and adopting healthy behaviors.
Increase Corporate, Staff Support
However like most nonprofits, we must continue to work hard to secure state and federal grants, seek corporate support and partner with community organizations to fund our efforts. We will continue to invest in our staff, as we ask a lot of them. In addition to ongoing professional training, they deliver and evaluate our programs, maintain relationships with parents and schools, and interact with and respond to students with an ever watchful eye on changing technologies, teaching methods and social dynamics.
Our first priority is to strengthen our core programs that directly impact the social, emotional and sexual health of Indiana’s youth. To do this, we will:
- Deepen our relationships with Indiana school districts
- Formalize and update our core curriculum and delivery, and
- Work with school social workers, counselors and nurses to ensure our programs are culturally relevant.
Other priorities will be to:
- Increase awareness of Social Health’s purpose and expertise
- Improve organizational infrastructure so we can increase our capacity to advance our mission.
To ensure professionalism and effectiveness of our programs, we will also:
- Continue bullying prevention evaluation with IU School of Social Work
- Use IU School of Medicine teen pregnancy prevention data to adjust curricula
- Segment student and school data from IPS schools to evaluate the long-term impact of our programs
Skills for a Complex World
A special “Thank you” to our entire team dedicated to moving SHA forward. I’m proud of the work our board and staff has done throughout this intense research and planning process and am confident about where we are headed.
Students face many challenges growing up in a very complex world. Social Health Association will be there for them, providing relevant medically-accurate and research-based information to help them develop the skills they need to lead successful, happy and healthy lives.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and jump right into building stronger lives and better futures for our youth!
For more information on SHA’s Strategic Capacity Building Plan, please contact CEO Tonja Eagan at (317) 667-0341.