Global Partners-At Home volunteers foster resilience in students, teachers, and families by partnering with schools and organizations in the communities in which we live and work. By engaging in meaningful relationships with our neighbors, we can elevate the health of our communities while gaining a broader understanding of issues that influence health.
- Individually, mentors will serve as a positive role model in helping students thrive during their time at school. Mentored students may have improved academic performance, fewer disciplinary referrals, and greater display of school district values. Education is strongly linked with health. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "people with more education are likely to live longer, to experience better health outcomes, and to practice health-promoting behaviors."
- Departments, organizations, and businesses can adopt-a-classroom and provide funding for field trips or in-kind donations of healthy snacks and resources to enrich learning.
- Volunteers with monthly Family Nights serve meals, play a game or sport, assist with a craft, or simply converse with a neighbor to promote a healthy, fun evening.
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With Gundersen Health System's focus on improving the health of our own communities, program leaders wanted to see if the Global Partners model – led by volunteers and fueled by philanthropy – could make a difference locally.
In fall 2016, Global Partners began a partnership with Hamilton Early Learning Center, a school in the Powell-Poage-Hamilton neighborhood, located just a few blocks north of Gundersen's La Crosse Campus. It is one of three schools in La Crosse where more than 60 percent of its students are defined as "economically disadvantaged."
At the school's request, Global Partners recruited volunteers to serve as morning mentors for students who could benefit from the one-on-one support of a caring adult to help the student transition into the school day. These mentors would provide a "soft landing" for students to help them be more successful in school and exhibit behaviors consistent with the school values.
At the same time, an adopt-a-classroom program was developed to leverage the power of philanthropy by encouraging Gundersen departments to provide financial and in-kind resources to classroom teachers throughout the school year. Teachers often have great ideas to foster learning, but resources aren't always within reach. Funds and resources donated through the adopt-a-classroom program help to make these ideas a reality, including field trips, healthy snacks, books, technology, and more.
A year later, in January 2018, Global Partners began partnering with a La Crosse Boys and Girls Club to sponsor monthly family nights. These nights offer a meal, fun activities and a family-friendly environment for the neighborhood to connect.