Unlocking Potential: The Key to Successful Cross-Organizational Collaboration

Unlocking Potential: The Key to Successful Cross-Organizational Collaboration

March 27 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

The saying “Together we are better” is easier said than done. Discover how statewide organizations overcome challenges to lead partnerships with limited capacity and resources. Join them as they share insights on balancing short-term activities with a long-term vision of a state where quality of life is a priority, and everyone has an equitable opportunity to thrive. Gain valuable lessons, insights into obstacles, and highlights as they establish priorities, coordinate activities and measure impact across the state.


Mar 27 webinar Unlocking Potential: The Key to Successful Cross-Organizational Collaboration

Forrest Alton, MPH
Co-Founder & President 1000 Feathers

Lori Phillips, MPH and MCHES
Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention at the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control

Meg Stanley, MMC
Executive Director, Wholespire, Inc.

Building Bridges: A Collaborative Partnership Between Community Coalition and Schools

Building Bridges: A Collaborative Partnership Between Community Coalition and Schools

Get ready to learn about the exciting initiatives underway in our state that aim to bridge the gap between communities and schools! Join us as Rachel Fobare takes us on a journey through the implementation of Erin’s Law in our schools and shares valuable information about community resources that can support this law’s requirements. And that’s not all – we’ll also hear from Robin Cooper, who will discuss how schools and community partners can work together to improve student and community health by aligning their shared goals. This is a unique opportunity to discover how collaboration and partnerships can lead to positive outcomes for our communities, so don’t miss it!

First virtual conference deemed a success

First virtual conference deemed a success

How do you pull off a first virtual conference during times of uncertainty without pulling your hair out? Patiently…very patiently. That was the mindset of Wholespire staff who were planning the virtual Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities + Youth Edition and learning how to execute a virtual conference.

At the direction of the Summit Planning Committee, Wholespire staff embarked on its first ever virtual conference in December 2020 with the search for a virtual platform. While virtual conferences were still new for many organizations at the time, it was just as new for platform developers. But, staff managed to find a platform that worked out fairly well in the end.

For the next four-and-a-half months, the work began. From pulling together the call for speakers to thinking about fun and engaging things to do, staff were constantly brainstorming and finalizing the details.

“I think the hardest part of planning a virtual conference is remembering what our in-person conference offered attendees,” said Brandie Freeman, communications and marketing manager at Wholespire. “I had to keep reminding myself that we could still provide networking opportunities, physical activity breaks, and interaction with the speakers. We just had to figure out how to do that.”

In the end, it all came together with two intimidating things – technology and the unknown. During the two half-days on May 12-13, staff came together for the first time in over a year to run the virtual Leadership Summit + Youth Edition.

“While scattered about our office building, we stayed pretty busy greeting speakers behind the scenes on Zoom, clicking buttons to play videos, going live for some of us, and engaging with attendees through session chat boxes,” said Meg Stanley, executive director at Wholespire. “It was quite the fun yet uncertain scene, but we made it through with flying colors.”

Evaluations seemed to repeat some common thoughts: ease of use, accessibility, inclusivity, engaging sessions, great speakers, and chat box features to name a few. Of those who completed an evaluation, results were:

  • 54% rated the Summit excellent; 38% good; and 4% average.
  • 94% said they would attend the Summit again.
  • 74% said they would recommend the Summit to a colleague or friend.

The Summit featured three keynote speakers: Gullah/Geechee Nation Chieftess Queen Quet on May 12; Dr. Kathryn Silva Hyde on May 13; and By the Hand Club for Kids & Austin Harvest youth on May 13. Attendees gave high marks on all three keynote speakers:

  • 62% were very satisfied with Queen Quet.
  • 92% were very satisfied with Dr. Kathryn Silva Hyde.
  • 76% were very satisfied with By the Hand Club for Kids & Austin Harvest youth.

During the call for speakers and conference registration processes, Wholespire staff ensured speaker and audience demographics were asked to help ensure the event would be diverse, equitable, and representative of the communities served. While demographic questions were optional, a surprising number of people completed them. Here’s a glimpse into what it revealed:

  • 56% of registrants were first-time attendees.
  • 75% represented South Carolina, while 25% represented other states.
  • 1% represented the Buddhist community.
  • 5% represented the LGBTQ+ community.
  • 1.1% represented the Hispanic, Latinx or Spanish Origin ethnicities.

“With this and much more audience demographic information in hand, we can use it to increase outreach and partnerships with specific communities and groups around the state,” said Stanley. “We can even increase inclusivity on our social media platforms by promoting health observances, events, and webinars that speak directly to these types of groups.”

So, what’s next for the Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities? The planning committee will reconvene soon to determine the 2022 date and platform. All data collected in evaluations will be used to ensure another great event. If you would like to join the planning committee, email brandie@wholespire.org.

Leadership Summit Takes on Youth Summit and other Major Changes

Leadership Summit Takes on Youth Summit and other Major Changes

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The Leadership Summit is back after a one-year hiatus and Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) staff couldn’t be more excited! The planning committee and staff have been working diligently to learn best practices related to hosting a virtual conference, brainstorming some fun factors, and taking on the Youth Edition, formerly known as the Youth Summit.

The Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities + Youth Edition will be May 12-13 on your computer. You can kick back, relax, and take in the valuable information our speakers will present to you. This year’s Summit is focusing on historical and cultural influences that impact perceptions on healthy eating, active living, and health. This annual event is also focusing on the importance of cross-collaboration between community coalitions and youth advocates. Youth may just be the key to unlocking local initiative success! 

Going Virtual
Virtual conferences aren’t optimal but given the continued risks of spreading and contracting COVID-19, it’s the best choice for ESMMSC. “We just couldn’t go another year without providing an outlet for our community and state partners to network and learn best practices and lesson learned around the latest initiatives happening in the state,” says Kelsey Allen, manager of community initiatives.

The virtual Leadership Summit will provide opportunities for attendees to network through the virtual platform. There will also be pre-conference networking opportunities focused on specific topics scheduled for May 10-11.

+ Youth Edition
In the past, ESMMSC hosted the Youth Summit, a one-day conference for youth from HYPE teams and youth-serving organizations to convene and learn about HYPE projects, social justice, and youth advocacy. The 2020 Youth Summit was live streamed on Facebook over four weeks and drew a good crowd of youth and adults. Rather than hosting separate virtual events, staff thought combining the events would increase interest across both audiences.

“I’ve always wanted to find a way to get youth to the Leadership Summit to network with and learn from community coalitions and public health professionals,” says Trimease Carter, manager of youth engagement. “The virtual Summit is the perfect opportunity to make that happen. My hope is that youth will participate in the Leadership Summit and coalitions and public health professionals will participate in the Youth Edition.”

Three Keynote Speakers
Building on the theme of Understand. Influence. Change.: Understanding yesterday to influence today for a better tomorrow, the Summit Planning Committee approved three keynote speakers. Queen Quet, Dr. Kathryn Silva Hyde, and By the Hand Club for Kids/Austin Harvest will provide inspiration for youth and adults to engage with each other and make a healthy difference in their communities.

Queen Quet, Chieftess and Head-of-State of The Gullah/Geechee Nation
Wednesday, May 12 | 1:10 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

For centuries, the Gullah/Geechee people have endured inequities and unfair treatment that have negatively impacted their quality of life. Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, will present on how her people live an active life that supports overall healthy living. She will reveal how public health advocates and community coalitions can work with the Gullah/Geechee people to increase access to healthy eating and active living resources and improve health outcomes.

Dr. Kathryn Silva Hyde, Chair and Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Humanities at Claflin University
Thursday, May 13 | 1:10 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Why are African Americans skeptical about health and healthcare? How does African American history and culture influence today’s perspectives? Dr. Kathryn Silva Hyde will explore the history and treatment of African Americans over the course of centuries. She will provide insight into why, in today’s world, African Americans are hesitant to trust, not only healthcare providers and public health professionals, but also leadership, new ideas, new initiatives, and new resources implemented to help shape health outcomes.   

By the Hand Club for Kids and Austin Harvest
Thursday, May 13 | 4:40 p.m. – 5:10 p.m.

Austin Harvest is a youth-led open-air fresh market that provides fresh produce to the residents of the Austin neighborhood in the far west side of Chicago. Austin Harvest grew out of a desire for youth to lead the way for positive community change. Due to decades of racial inequities highlighted by the killing of George Floyd and the COVID-19 crisis, By The Hand Club for Kids youth gathered in healing circles with local police and athletes to process recent violence and brainstorm solutions for their community in June of 2020. The students challenged the stakeholders to think about systematic reform but also expressed the need to do something now. This led to the idea of Austin Harvest and the transformation of a looted liquor store into a fresh market. More than providing fresh food to a neighborhood that historically lacks access to healthy and affordable produce, the aim of Austin Harvest is to bring people together and bring hope not only to their neighborhood but to inspire other communities that they too can make change.

Pre-Conference Activity
In-person networking is a major part of the Summit, and ESMMSC staff were concerned about attendees missing out those opportunities. That’s why the planning committee agreed to offer Pre-Conference Networking. Like a Zoom meeting, participants will be able to logon and see each other as they interact around specific topics:

  • Chapter Chairs Best Practices, Lessons Learned, and Future Directions
  • Challenges & Best Practices for Project Implementation During a Crisis
  • Legislative Update
  • Capacity Building: Creating Strength and Sustainability for Your Coalition
  • Collaborating with Local Youth Leaders
  • How can our work be more intersectional?

All of the sessions are optional registration items and will be moderated by ESMMSC staff.

In addition to Pre-Conference Networking, an optional Pre-Conference Workshop will be available to anyone interested in learning more about disability inclusion. Inclusive Strategies for Working with Individuals with Disabilities: Empowering Equal Access, produced by the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability and the University of South Carolina, provides instruction on the rights of people with disabilities, how to include people with disabilities in your work, and the etiquette you need to consider. This training has a pre-test that will be emailed to registrants prior to the training, as well as a post test that will be emailed following the training.

On-Demand and Continuing Education
One of the benefits of virtual conference is the opportunity to provide on-demand videos. After the Summit ends, registrants will have access to all sessions for up to six months. That means registrants can view as many breakout sessions as they want, so there’s no missing out on a session. Note that pre-conference activity will not be available on-demand.

“The only drawback is that continuing education credit will only be available for the live session,” says Meg Stanley, executive director. “CEUs will not be available for on-demand sessions, so participants should be selective when choosing which live breakout session to attend for CUEs.”

To be eligible for continuing education credit, participants must be in a session and complete the session evaluation. Once those actions have occurred, CEU documentation will be available to the participant in their name. ESMMSC is applying for continuing education in the following areas: CHES/MCHES, Social Workers, and Registered Dieticians. Certificates of Attendance will be available for all other certification programs.

In addition to keynote speakers, Youth Edition, pre-conference activity, there will be two general sessions and four concurrent sessions featuring four sessions each. There will also be door prizes and a hint of something new happening for ESMMSC. Registration and more details for the Leadership Summit for Healthy Communities + Youth Edition are coming soon, so save the date and check your email inbox!

Re-Imaging Program Delivery To Students During COVID-19

Over the past several months, you’ve heard a lot on the news and social media about the challenges educators are facing and continue to face due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, what about youth-serving organizations and programs? How are these professionals addressing their own challenges of reaching youth and continuing their programs?

“After hearing concerns from some of our Youth Summit Planning Committee members, we felt like this would be a good opportunity to convene a group of youth and professionals to discuss the challenges to providing services to students that were traditionally offered in the school setting prior to COVID-19 and exchange ideas on how to overcome them,” said Trimease K. Carter, youth engagement manager at Eat Smart Move More South Carolina.

The planning committee recommended partnering with Together SC, an organization that focuses on South Carolina’s nonprofit community, to host a two-part webinar series to help youth-serving organizations continue their important work. ABLE South Carolina, Family Connections of South Carolina, the 7th District AME Church, and S.H.E Is Me Mentoring also partnered and planned the series, Re-Imaging Program Delivery To Students During COVID-19.

Part one featured a youth panel providing perspectives of how to best reach and serve them during this time. Some of the tips they offered to youth-serving organizations included: offering programming on evenings rather than weekends, texting rather than emailing, and sending multiple messages and being persistent. Perhaps the most important tip was that youth are not on Facebook. The first webinar also featured Vicki Ladd, State School Nurse Consultant at SCDHEC. She shared considerations for working with students and youth as schools reopen.

During part two, ABLE South Carolina Director of Youth Transition Paige Maxwell moderated an expert panel where panelists shared their experiences delivering school-based programs during COVID-19. The panel included Carena Jones, school social worker at Eau Claire High School; Paige Selking, project director at Ending the Silence National Alliance on Mental Illness South Carolina Chapter; Tabitha Strickland, assistant principal at Kershaw County School District; and Amanda Metzger, director of community engagement at Healthy Learners. The panelists were able to give insight on the impacts of COVID-19 on programming, challenges to reaching students, changes that they’ve implemented, relationships with funders, and moving forward.

A recording of both webinars is available to view here.