Like a rock band with a faithful following, Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Educational Theatre will be on tour this summer — performing at 14 sites in 11 Kaiser Permanente service areas in June. Instead of taking the stage at sports arenas and music festivals, performer-educators from The Best Me program will connect with audiences at elementary school summer camps, public parks, and YMCA gyms.
“The messages from The Best Me, which are about eating better and being more active, fit well with the goals of many summer programs,” said Alicia Perales Rangel, community health liaison, Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre. “Summer programs and camps are looking for programs like ours to provide these important health messages in an innovative way.”
The Best Me is a 45-minute educational performance that features comedy, drama, music, and dance. The show, which is provided free of charge, encourages students to play hard for at least 60 minutes every day, limit screen time, drink water instead of soda or juice, and eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day.
Health Messages Delivered with Energy and Passion
Highlights from The Best Me 2015 summer tour include a June 16 performance for all of the summer camps run by the City of San Pablo, where obesity rates are particularly high, and a June 23 performance for low-income and formerly homeless families organized by the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative in the Bay Area.
This will be the second year that The Best Me is on summer tour, and the second summer that students at Hayward Unified School District’s Youth Enrichment Program (YEP) are treated to the show. The program is a low-cost or no-cost summer camp for Hayward school-aged students. YEP Operations Supervisor Hector Torres said the health messages and the idea that you can be your own health advocate are important, but the way the messages are delivered is “amazing.”
“There’s so much interactivity, energy, and passion. Messages delivered that way are so impactful, and will go a long way.”
Tools to Build Student Confidence and Success
This summer, Educational Theatre (ET) staff will also work again with Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California LAUNCH Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) interns. The program offers paid summer work experiences within KP for low-income high-school students. Support for students applying for SYEP Regional Offices internships started earlier this year, with ET staff helping students at Oakland public high schools and First Place for Youth, a nonprofit that serves young people coming out of foster care.
During the summer, ET staff will lead trainings for the Regional Offices interns on workplace communication, time management, and planning for success, and also offer feedback through videotaped mock job interviews.
ET Program Coordinator Hannah Cordero said the work is similar to the trainings offered to new ET employees, who are often right out of school and new to the working world.
“We want to use the skills and experience we have working with young people to contribute to KP’s work of exposing students to the health careers pathway,” Cordero said. “We’re excited to offer them tools so they can feel more confident and be successful in the workplace.”