Health in Our Hands aims to sustain the project in Flint/Genesee after the grant funding ends in 2024. This goal was envisioned by the HiOH-Flint/Genesee Partnership when it submitted the grant proposal in May 2018 to our funder, the NIH-Science Education Partnership Award. But what will it take to move from a project, to a form that can be self-sustaining? It has not been an easy process, especially given planning such an endeavor during the Covid19 pandemic. But the partners established a sustainability committee and chose a toolkit to guide our work. An important step was holding a face-to-face retreat to discuss in depth how to move forward.
On April 13, 2022, 16 partners (including two by Zoom) attended the HiOH Sustainability Retreat at the Genesee Career Institute hosted by partner Michael Pillay from the Genesee Intermediate School District. Two teachers volunteered to attend and provided their perspectives from the classroom. We started by considering our journey beginning with our first project funding in 2006 through today.
Our first activity was to ask ourselves: What does HiOH look like 5 years from now? Our responses highlighted Partnership, Parents and Family, Community Health, Growth and Expansion in Schools, and Student Voice and Engagement. Partners discussed mission alignment and what they need to stay involved. We formed a “Human continuum” to demonstrate, “How essential is this cooperative effort to your mission?”
Following the retreat, members reflected on the importance of building relationships, reflecting on our partnership, and sharing together where we are going. One partner stated, “I’m energized seeing people who share a common mission supporting healthy youth development.