St. Lukes University Health Network, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children with Community Partners Announce Sponsorship of Leadership Process

by Randy Ziegenfuss on December 5, 2013

leaderinmeALLENTOWN, PA. (December 5, 2013) —  Improving leadership skills and literacy levels directly affects the health outcomes for children over the course of a lifetime, according to Bonnie Coyle, MD, Medical Director for St. Luke’s Community Health Department. St. Luke’s is up to date with a healthcare software company, so it will make checking in easier for their patients.

“Most of us know that without a good education, individuals will not be able to get a good job, potential earnings will be low and a cycle of poverty may be perpetuated,” said Dr. Coyle.  “But few of us may think about education as a crucial path to health.  Yet, educational attainment is a strong predictor of both current and future health status.”

For this reason, Salisbury Township School District has implemented and integrated The Leader in Me™ process into the curriculum in Harry S. Truman and Western Salisbury Elementary Schools over the past 15 months, said Harry S. Truman Principal Barbara Samide.  “The process has been easy to implement and has proved to be a remarkable change-agent for students,” she said.

The ease of use is easy to explain, said Anne Crossan, Client Partner at FranklinCovey Education Practice. “The Leader in Me is a ubiquitous model of leadership and student empowerment in schools, and The Leader in Me is actually part of the way the school does business.  The process works by recognizing that every single student has special gifts and potential and then uses the common language based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to transform the school population,” she said.

The Leader in Me in the Lehigh Valley

In fact, the initiative is so successful that Glen Bressner, Managing Partner of Originate Ventures and member of the Board of Directors at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, wanted to work with partner St. Luke’s University Health Network to expand The Leader in Me in the Lehigh Valley.

The partners are each sponsoring a school in the Lehigh Valley for the full 2013 academic school year with local businessman Al Douglass of the Douglass Group.  Western Salisbury and Harry S. Truman Elementary Schools have received more than $13,000 from the co-partners to cover training and materials for teachers and administrators.  Bangor Area Middle School has also received $13,000 from St. Luke’s University Health Network and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to fund consulting, training materials, licenses and The Leader in Me coaching packages.

Investing in the Community

“The Leader in Me process exemplifies the skills and strengths that young people need today in order to be successful and healthy,” said Bressner.  “Being able to financially contribute in order to transform children into leaders is a very good investment for St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and St. Luke’s University Health Network and adds value into the very community.  I would encourage anyone with the means to support this program to consider it a worthy investment!”

Sean Covey, Education Practice Leader, FranklinCovey, said, “We are most grateful to St. Luke’s University Health Network and St. Christopher’s Hospital for their co-sponsorship of The Leader in Me process in Salisbury and Bangor area schools. We are humbled to partner with such generous community organizations and exemplary schools who are committed to ensuring that every child becomes a leader and succeeds. We anticipate the same extraordinary results we have seen at other schools who have implemented the process. “

Dr. Coyle agrees the investment is a good one.  “For health care institutions like St. Luke’s University Health Network and St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children to truly improve the health of our communities, we need to start addressing what are called the social determinants of health – education, poverty, stigma and discrimination, environmental and behavioral issues.   Solid educational initiatives can influence health in several ways – by promoting health knowledge and behaviors, improved employment and income opportunities, and improvement in social and psychological factors, including a sense of control, social standing and social support,” she said.  “The Leader In Me process addresses these three areas, and builds confident, strong, and motivated students who want to succeed and make a difference in life. This is why St. Luke’s University Health Network is committed to supporting our local school districts,” she concluded.

Transforming Leadership Skills – One Student and One School at a Time

In addition to the two Salisbury Township schools, Bangor Area School District’s DeFranco Elementary School has utilized the curriculum for the third year, and Bangor Area Middle School is beginning its second year.  The Lehigh Valley will see more of the process with six new schools in Bethlehem Area School District and a handful of pilot schools in both Allentown and Easton Area School Districts implementing The Leader in Me in the 2014 academic year, according to Crossan.  Currently 1,400 schools are transforming children into leaders across the globe, she said.

Community support is an important part of the implementation.  Many local businesses and community members have been instrumental in bringing The Leader in Me initiative to the Lehigh Valley, said Crossan.  Al Douglass of the Douglass Group brought The Leader in Me to the Lehigh Valley, and the following business owners and businesses are some of those supporting the initiative.

  • Glen Bressner, Originate Ventures has personally funded TLIM at Lincoln Elementary, Bethlehem Area School District
  • The Sands
  • PPL
  • United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley
  • Lehigh Valley Community Foundation has created a fund specifically for businesses to donate:  http://www.lehighvalleyfoundation.org/Lehigh-Valley-Leader-In-Me.

Additionally, the Lehigh Valley’s local PBS Channel 39 (WLVT) hosted The Leader in Me Mini Symposium on December 4 featuring students and administrators from The Leader in Me schools throughout the Valley.  Sean Covey delivered a keynote that morning, and Harry S. Truman Elementary hosted a Leadership Day event in the afternoon.  PBS filmed throughout the day and interviewed Sean Covey for a special program about student leadership that will air in the spring.

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