Helping Americans Live Healthier Lives: The New Healthcare Law and You

More than 50 million Americans have no health insurance. Tens of millions more are underinsured. Another 129 million Americans could not get insurance due to pre-existing conditions. This MLK Day, help your community learn about the important features of the new health care law, how it will address some of these issues, and its effect on members of the community.

  1. Identify a Location
    Identify places where people live, learn, worship, or play such schools, houses of worship, community or recreation centers, colleges and universities, and libraries, and ask them to partner with you on a project to increase awareness about the health care law and its effect on members of the community. One or more of these locations may be the ideal place to host your event. Select a location that is easily accessible via public transportation or within walking distance of the places where people live, learn, worship or play.

    This information could also be distributed door-to-door or placed in commonly used locations around your community. You also could distribute information as part of a larger service project or local celebration event.
  2. Organize a Team to Plan
    Recruit an informed team to plan and implement the event. A successful group effort requires a motivated team that agrees upon clearly defined tasks, sets reachable goals, and acts with inspiration and purpose.
  3. Implement the Service Project/Activities
    On the day of your event:
    • Make sure project leaders or coordinators are at the site early, the site is set up, and they are ready to greet community members as they arrive. Even if some volunteers will be doing door-to-door distribution of materials, it is important that the group start off the day together and review what you are trying to accomplish.
    • Officially welcome everyone and talk about the purpose of the event – promoting healthy futures for the community in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Organize volunteers into different work teams. For example, have different people greeting participants, handing out refreshments, responding to questions, distributing materials, directing participants to information about the health care law, or managing the child-friendly activities or service projects.
    • Utilize the invited speaker to share information (possibly using the PowerPoint in the resource section) about the health care law. If you have speakers who are well-versed in the law, consider having a Q&A session where participants can engage in dialogue or get responses to their questions. Also consider recording or documenting the responses in order to share with a larger audience as part of your follow-up.
    • If people bring children along, have pre-planned, child-friendly activities such as:
      • Decorating lunch bags for senior citizen centers.
      • Making cards for seniors in assisted living facilities.
      • Learning about Dr. King through story books or coloring books.
      • Holding an age appropriate discussion about health.
      • Nutrition activities from ChooseMyPlate.gov for children over age five including a whole grain lesson and a whole grain word scramble to test knowledge gained from the lesson.
      • For youth-friendly discussion ideas, visit Scholastic’s Spirit of Service curriculum for engaging youth conversation around Dr. King’s actions and how they inspire service projects. (Grades 3-5 and 6-8)
    • Conduct your event, offering continuous encouragement to participants.
    • Make time for reflection with participants and volunteers. Talk about the parallels and differences between your effort to improve the health of your community and the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that encourage everyone to live up to the purpose and potential of America.
  4. Reflect and Assess
    After the event, take some time to reflect with your partners on how it went. Think about what went well and what could be improved.
    • Debrief with your team members and presenters after the event.
    • Evaluate the goals that you set for the event and consider which you met, exceeded, and didn’t quite reach.
    • Who did the event impact? What did you accomplish? What were your impressions of the day?
    • Ask everyone for their honest assessment of what went well and how to improve it for next time.
    • Consider what doing this work on MLK Day, in particular, meant to you.
    • Make a list and plan for necessary follow-up.
  5. Share Your Story
    We know you might not like to brag, but please do! You may inspire others to organize a healthcare awareness event once they hear what you accomplished. Share your service story. We're listening and want to know what you did.

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