Step 1: Building Partnerships
The foundation for all the work of KEYS 4 HealthyKids is partnerships with people and organizations that have a stake in healthy communities.
A local KEYS team coordinates the overall effort. From our experience, a team of six to eight people representing different aspects of the community works pretty well. The team’s job is to lead the way, engage others in the work, track progress and make adjustments as needed. Members need to have the time and commitment to attend regular meetings and help carry out the tasks. Some may participate as part of their jobs, while others may be community volunteers. The KEYS team can be a stand-alone group or a committee of an existing group.
Involving youth from the start is critical. Informal conversations, forums, focus groups and surveys are all ways to gain insights that will help shape your work. A Youth Council is a good way to create a meaningful and ongoing voice for youth in all of your activities.
Building partnerships with decision-makers is also important. Creating lasting change often involves changing the policies of organizations, as well as public laws and regulations. Examples include helping child care center directors and staff develop healthy food policies, and asking local governments to adopt “complete streets” policies for safer routes for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Tools for Building Partnerships
Building Your KEYS 4 HealthyKids Team
Building a Youth Council
KEYS Youth Orientation
Youth Ladder of Participation
Confronting the Glass Ceiling of Youth Engagement
Building Coalitions Fact Sheets
Joint Use Agreements – National Policy and Legal Analysis Network