Lutherans in the Twin Cities

Augsburg Fairview charter school partnership takes wellness to the community

The school is positively impacting both those in need and those providing it

Youth Leadership. Youth Voice. Youth Action. This is the goal for Augsburg Fairview Academy for Health Careers (AFAHC) teens. They conduct “Youth Wellness Clin-ics” around Minneapolis at community groups in order to educate other youth and the general community about health issues.
The clinics consist of Blood Pressure and Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings. The focus is particularly health issues that affect many racial and ethnic minority youth and low income families.
“It’s all about awareness,” said Tsimnuj, an 11th- grader at the Academy. “I think it is rewarding and it benefits both the students and the community.”
The Wellness Clinics give an opportunity for Augsburg Fairview Acade-my students to work alongside community partners. They include nurses from Augsburg College and students from the Poverty Medicine Center, an organization from the University of Minnesota. Having a structured activity allows the students to gain volunteer experience, gives them a sense of belonging and provides a safe space.
Kristin McHale is a volunteer nurse at the Academy and a Nursing graduate student at Augsburg College. “I love mentoring students who are excited about health care careers,” she said. “What makes Augsburg Fairview Academy students unique is the diversity of the students. [As our community becomes more diverse], it is important that we are also preparing diverse students to get into health care careers.”
Jessica Lee, Health Teacher and Wellness Co-ordinator, emphasizes the enthusiasm of the students when it comes to the Wellness Clinics. “I literally have a waiting list for students wanting to lead these clinics,” Lee said. “I am very proud of our students. While other high school students are motivated by sports or dances, our Augsburg Fairview Acade-my students are motivated by going out to the community and helping others.”
Hayat, an 11th-grader, said, “I love doing this because it gives me experience in a health-related field.” She says, “I think it is important to do this with younger people so they can start thinking, ‘I can be like them.’
“These kids see us as role models. If they see others their age talk about health issues, they can start getting interested in it too and do something about it.”

“I am very happy to supervise the Academy’s students as they lead these clinics,” said McHale. She is also a District Nurse for Lakeville Public Schools and has mobilized her colleagues to also assist in these clinics. “I would like to maintain this relationship with Augs-burg Fairview Academy even after I finish with graduate school.”

The Academy has re-ceived recognition for its Wellness Clinics at the National and Global Youth Service (NGYS) Day celebration. The April 21 event, held at the Capri Theatre in North Minneapolis, was coordinated by Pillsbury United Communities.

Shakiera and Chiquila, both 9th-graders who represented the Academy at the NGYS event, had an opportunity to meet Alan Page, Supreme Court Justice and former NFL player, who was the guest speaker at the event. Page spoke about the importance of youth leadership. He also lifted up the Page Education Foundation, a scholarship organization that assists students of color in financial need.

Augsburg Fairview Academy for Health Careers has done Wellness Clinics at Sabathani Community Center, Whittier Recreation Center, Stewart Recreation Centers, Hazel Park Middle School and Minneapolis Academy.

The Academy hosted a Free Blood Pressure Screen-ing and a Health/Wellness Fair twice during May, in observance of National High Blood Pressure Education Month.

Augsburg College, Fair-view Health Services, The College of St. Catherine, MCTC and other partners shared health care and health career programs at the Fair.

The May event was held at Augsburg Fairview Acad-emy’s new location in the Messiah Lutheran and Community Center at 2504 Columbus Avenue, South Minneapolis.

The Augsburg Fairview Academy for Health Ca-reers is a charter public high school (grades 9-12) located in Minneapolis. The Acad-emy is sponsored by Augsburg College and Fairview Health Services. To learn more, visit www.afa.tc, email info@afa.tc or call 612/991-6992.