Some things to think about:

  • Who will teach the program? Will it be a Teacher, Program Director/Coordinator, another staff member, such as an AmeriCorps assistant, a volunteer, or a combination of people?
    • Most success occurs when the facilitator has a standing relationship with the participants. Participants should be confident that the facilitator is sharing important information and skills that they can trust to be true and useful.
    • If the facilitator is not a ‘regular’ at the program/class, it is highly advised that a teacher or staff member is present during the lessons as sensitive subjects may come up and/or the facilitator may need assistance in classroom management.

  • When will you teach the classes? Set aside a regular, predictable day and time.
    • Children need a minimum of 12 consecutive classes taught every week or every other week to retain information in the long-term.
    • Each lesson will need an hour set aside to fully complete all activities.

The curriculum

  • Each lesson plan is broken into two parts:
    • “Overview and Setup,” summarizes the lesson, the skills it builds, its “take-home” messages, and how to set up.
    • “Lesson Plan,” is a guide for teaching the lesson. There are directions for simplifying lessons in some sections and there are web site links for supplements to the lesson that can be used with those children who have access to computers.

  • Each lesson also includes a short evaluation to be used as a pre and post test. This will help you to track your students’ progress and evaluate their health literacy.

  • We know that young children learn best by repeatedly using new skills, and that successful completion of skills, or mastery, increases their sense of efficacy—convictions about their capability for success in executing a course of action.

  • A Reflection Notebook is recommended for tracking student progress. An entry in the Reflection Notebook is always suggested as a Take Home Activity.

Scheduling guest speakers

  • Building Wellness is one part of a larger vision to help children and their families become fully enrolled in health care plans and, ultimately, have health providers they rely upon and utilize for their care. Your use of health provider partners as visiting speakers and guests will further relationships that children and their families have with health care providers.

  • To develop a relationship, contact a local clinic’s Public Relations or Community Relations contact; give a background of Building Wellness.

  • Try contacting medical schools or residency programs at local hospitals. Most schools require some form of community service hours. Residents have truly enjoyed participating in Building Wellness in the past.

  • Be sure to NEVER leave the guest speaker with the students alone. One of the appeals of Building Wellness has been the assistance of Teacher/Program Directors in classroom management.

  • Provide your contact with the form letter included in the curriculum. This helps the guest know what they may speak about, what questions to expect and provide guidelines on their presentation.

  • Writing thank you notes, or having students write thank you notes, are very appreciated by guest speakers.

  • Nurturing and growing this relationship is helpful in future years of Building Wellness and provides a stable role model and contact in the medical field for students. Their trust will grow with their familiarity and discussions will become more fruitful.

Parent involment

  • We hope that you can include parents in Building Wellness, so most lesson plans suggest a take-home activity.

How do I use Building Wellness?

Building Wellness is designed to be a budget-friendly program. All supplies are usually found in regular program/classroom materials. However, periodically certain specific supplies are needed such as containers of food, medicine or products. It is always most effective to use EMPTY containers. Despite any lesson you teach, children will always want what is in the container. I.e., if teaching a lesson about the fat content of a Big Mac, no matter how well you teach it, participants will always want to eat the Big Mac if it is present.

Program Emphasis Overview

Building Wellness emphasizes two main themes:

1- What Affects My Health? (5 factors that affect health)


2- Who Cares About My Health? (Relationships that affect health)

Many Thanks To

Eugene M. Lang, Founder of the “I Have A Dream”® Foundation, who originated the program; to the Eugene M. Lang Foundation that generously contributed to funding the program and its development; to Lauren McGrail, Associate Director of the Eugene M. Lang Foundation and coordinating director of the program; and to the “I Have A Dream”® Foundation and its sponsors, Project Coordinators and Students who cooperated in developing and piloting the program.


  • Adeline Azrack, MS, Director of Monitoring and Evaluation, Hopital Albert Schweitzer Haiti
  • Anne Cisneros, Board Member, Colorado IHAD
  • Barbara Brenner, Dr.PH, MSW, Director, Community Relations, The Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Beth Weiner, MPH
  • Catherine Diamond, MPH, Executive Director, Building Wellness™
  • Charity Purvis, IHAD Project Coordinator, Atlanta GA
  • Donna Doty, PhD, Owen Consulting, Inc.
  • Elizabeth Cooke, IHAD Project Coordinator, Manhattan, NY
  • Erin Larrabee, IHAD Project Coordinator, Denver, CO
  • Gonzalo Sabogal, MD, Dept of Pediatrics, The New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens
  • Jason Lee, Intern, IHAD Foundation National office
  • Joanne Toran, MPA, Associate Director, Pediatric School Based Health Center, The Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Joseph J. Abullerage, MD, MPH, M.Phil, FAAP, Chairman, Dept of Pediatrics, The New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens
  • Julia Csillag, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Laurie Maves, Program Director, Colorado IHAD
  • Lois Link, Educator
  • Lolita Mason, Registered Nurse, Washington, DC
  • Lori Donoho, Program Specialist, National “I Have A Dream”® Foundation
  • Maida Galvez, MD, Dept of Community and Preventative Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
  • Makeda Jordan, IHAD Project Coordinator, New York, NY
  • Malik Baker, Intern, IHAD Foundation National office
  • Maricela Gudino, IHAD Project Coordinator, Los Angeles, CA
  • Mary Hanewall, Executive Director, Colorado “IHAD”® Foundation
  • Monique McLaurin, Student, Atlanta GA
  • Nancy F. McKenzie, PhD, Transtext Consulting
  • Patricia Woods, PhD, Chief Learning Officer, The New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens
  • Peter Noel, IHAD Project Coordinator, Denver, CO
  • Phyllis August, MD, MPH, Chief, Hypertension Division New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Rashida Latef, Intern, IHAD Foundation National office; Student
  • Rima Rudd, ScD, Senior Lecturer on Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Rochelle Williams, Student alum and Board member, Colorado IHAD Foundation
  • Taryn Baer-Shalev, MD, Dept of Community and Preventative Medicine, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Tiffany Taylor, Student, Atlanta, GA

"I Have A Dream" Foundation

322 Eighth Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001 .
Telephone: +1 (212) 293-5480

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Building Wellness™ was conceived by the Eugene M. Lang Foundation in 2013. Its programs were developed under the auspices of the Foundation with the cooperation and support of educators, community organizations and health care providers. On January 1, 2016, the Foundation transferred ownership and operation exclusively to The “I Have A Dream” Foundation. This volume is the property of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation. Its contents are subject to copyright regulations and may not be reproduced without permission.
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