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Identifying a Group to Constitute the Action Team

For your Action Team, consider who needs to be engaged, in terms of expertise and connections.

  • Which relationships and connections need to be built and/or strengthened? You – alone or, presumably, with a small group of people who have already found one another – will need to engage some additional trustworthy leaders, whether or not you already have relationships with them.
  • What issues move these additional people? Which constituencies do they care about? In the realm of child development and prevention, your pool of potential allies is both state and local-level actors.

Here is a sample list of the kinds of people an Action Team would contain. You would not want this many people on the Team but the list suggests types of members to identify:

  • A state or local board of education member
  • A former legislator or, better still, two former legislators, one from each of the two major political parties
  • An expert on the state budget
  • Someone who has been a key policy advisor to the governor or a leading mayor
  • A leader of a respected statewide non-profit
  • The chair of local/county council
  • Key school personnel whose support within a large or important district is essential
  • A recognized community leader (who gets quoted in the papers, for example)
  • A citizen/parent who has experience or understands the issues

Some criteria that you should consider in identifying Team members include:

  • What connections does the person have?
  • What expertise and reputation does the person have?
  • Is she/he willing, as well as able, to deploy them on behalf of the campaign?
  • Does the person have an interest, at least in a general way, in promoting and improving social and emotional health, supporting positive youth development, and fostering wellness and resilience?

As you seek Action Team members,

  • figure out who will invite them and how (via personal social situation, email, phone call, chance meeting at an event,) and
  • figure out what you will say in the invitation; each invitation should be personal, not a group approach.

Here are some tips for organizational venues for identifying potential members of the Action Team. Even if you do not invite certain people you meet onto the Action Team, there may be other important roles that they can play in supporting the initiative or you may learn something useful about opportunities or challenges by speaking with them:

Who are potential state and local EDUCATION allies?

Check out these organizations and their top leaders:

  • Community schools – these partnerships bring community services into schools, especially those in high poverty areas
  • English Language Learners programs– these programs seek to integrate new or non-English-speaking immigrants into the schools and may provide access to community leaders who want a comprehensive approach to education
  • Organizations representing minority groups, addressing education disparities that disproportionately impact minority groups, and working on cultural competence – these organizations often seek comprehensive approaches that include behavioral health and social and emotional learning and development
  • Organizations working to improve high school graduation and finding alternatives to suspension and expulsion
  • Special education directors and advocates of students with special needs
  • Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS) practitioners
  • Child advocacy organizations
  • Associations of school principals (elementary and secondary) and of superintendents
  • After-school organizations
  • Family organizations
  • State or local foundations that have education as a priority

Who are potential state and local HEALTH allies?

Check out these organizations and their top leaders:

  • State public health and mental health departments
  • The state or local department of health – and its citizen board- whose mission is public health prevention and interventions
  • School-based health centers, school mental health programs, and their sponsoring agencies: they are already committed to connecting health/mental health and education and may have influential community involvement
  • School nurses – their mission is to pursue a universal health approach in the schools and are natural allies
  • School psychologists, school guidance counselors, and other school student support personnel and their respective associations– their mission is to support student well-being and promote a positive school climate
  • Newly developing Accountable Care Organizations, e.g., groupings of health providers that will be financially responsible, and therefore incentivized, for maintaining the health, including behavioral health, of the people in its portfolio
  • The chair or members of the state or local legislature’s health or mental health committee – they may want a signature initiative and would likely support coordinated and cost-effective approaches to improving health outcomes
  • American Academy of Pediatrics affiliates and local pediatricians generally
  • State or local public health associations
  • Mental health advocacy organizations
  • Community-based youth development organizations
  • Insurers and medical practices with financial responsibility for outcomes
  • University departments and individual faculty in child and youth development, public health, and/or education – they are interested in human development and may wish to participate in social action or community-based programs
  • State or local foundations that have health or mental health as a priority


Use the available templates for download in the Tools and Resources section to organize information and create a plan.


Updated June 2015

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