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Turn 2 Us Healthy Lifestyles
School-based mental health promotion and prevention program

2010-11 Turn 2 Us Program Highlights »

In June 2001, Turn 2 Us was created as a collaborative effort between Public School 128M of Washington Heights, Morgan Stanley's Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, and Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation. The Foundation chose to demonstrate its commitment to the community by supporting the implementation of a program that would promote healthy lifestyles and leadership among its elementary age children and their families.

Through this collaborative effort, the Healthy Schools Healthy Families Initiative evolved. In 2007, the program expanded to include Public School 4M. The promotion of overall well-being is achieved via a holistic approach that encompasses mental health, educational support, physical activity, and nutrition which leads to the development of healthier minds and bodies.

On-Site School Based Health Initiatives

Turn 2 Us/HSHF is a school-based collaboration where health professionals partner with school staff and community organizations to assess the needs of children and their families; then mobilize resources to address those needs for two elementary schools in Northern Manhattan.

The goals are to:

  • Cultivate a culture of physical fitness, good nutrition, and healthy lifestyle behaviors;
  • Facilitate insurance enrollment;
  • Make sure 100% of children have completed their required immunizations;
  • Facilitate access to services for children with identified health needs, particularly asthma;
  • Integrate mental health promotion with healthy lifestyles interventions to realize a holistic view of optimal health and wellness.

Turn 2 Us Comprehensive Wellness Program Mission

The mission is to enable youth to internalize different methods which encourage healthy lifestyles through a variety of physical and psycho-educational awareness activities. These activities are aimed to prevent at-risk behaviors that research indicates may lead to health and mental health related issues, i.e. early on-set diabetes, obesity, use of drugs or alcohol, truancy and drop out.

Prevention is vital at an early age as this will contribute to the future success and development of children. Working with the PS 128M and PS 4M community as a whole, will provide role models that will create a positive message so as to foster healthy minds and bodies; leading to healthier lives and success.

The comprehensive program involves children, parents and teachers in a variety of strategies and techniques. This contributes to the youth's heightened health consciousness, self confidence, self-esteem, perseverance and positive decision making processes.


On-Site School Based Mental Health

The School Based Mental Health Program is also an integral partner. It is part of the Pediatric Psychiatry Service at MS-CHONY and is a collaboration with the NYC Department of Education and Health and Mental Hygiene. It provides a comprehensive range of services, including; psychiatry, psychosocial and psychological evaluation, individual, group and family therapy, teacher consultation, and crisis intervention.

Healthy Lifestyles and Wellness

The Healthy Lifestyles Program encompasses myriad activities for children, parents, and staff that promote healthy lifestyles, mental wellness and academic support. This program also encourages the involvement of parents and children in local community activities which strengthen family structure and improves community awareness.

Ongoing Activities that focus on Healthy Lifestyles include, but are not limited to:


School Staff Support:

  • In-Class Meditation Exercises & Techniques
  • Understanding School-Aged Disorders Workshops
  • Nine (9)Week Series on Building Communication
  • Individual Teacher Consultations
  • Crisis Consultation & Referrals
  • In-Class Support Services

Parent Support:

  • Empowerment through Theatre
  • Coogan's 5K Run
  • Building Test Readiness Skills Workshops
  • Helping Children Manage Stress
  • Six (6) Father/Child Night Events
  • Drop-in Services for Parents

Extra-Curricular Events:

  • C.A.R.I.N.G. Drama Groups Performed at PS4
  • Four (4) Class Field Trips to the Winter Garden
  • Boys & Girls Basketball and Bowling Trips
  • Turn 2 Holiday Express
  • Basketball League's Trip to Liberty and Rice High Schools & Manhattan College Games
  • Basketball League Championship Game & Awards Ceremony
  • Baseball League Championship Game & Awards Ceremony
  • Turn 2 Two-Week Sleep-Away Camp Program
  • Creative Arts Summer Camp Program
  • Dance Team Performance at Coogan's 5K, PS 128 Christmas Show, PS 4 Talent Show , Steps on Broadway and PS 4 Awards Assembly
  • Track Team Jamboree


Student support:

Spring Mentorship Program:

  • Girls Basketball & Track Leadership Group
  • Boys Basketball Leadership Group
  • Girls Dance Leadership Group
  • Boys Track & Dance Leadership Group

2008-09 Program Highlights

  • Expanded the Turn 2 Us Baseball League to include 3 more schools, totaling 6 schools from Washington Heights & Harlem;
  • Implemented a 12-week mentorship program, which took place during lunch time and served every student in Turn 2 Us;
  • Implemented a year long track team at PS128 with the help of Columbia University students;
  • Expanded the Summer Creative Arts Program to include 40 students;
  • Received approval from the Board of Education and Columbia University to conduct a year long program evaluation study;
  • Preliminary findings so far demonstrate improved attendance, improved academic and social performance as indicated by teachers and parents, higher test scores in standardized ELA and math scores, teacher and students perception of the program scored on average high to very high.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Final 2009 Father/Child Night

On the evening of May 15, 2009, the last of six Father/Child Nights was held at PS 4. This was an opportunity for fathers or male care givers to gather and be recognized for their involvement in their children's lives, as well as to create a support network for each other and spend some time sharing in activities with their children. Dr. S. Charles Jeter, President of the Turn 2 Foundation and Derek's father, was invited by the Director of the Turn 2 Us Program, Dr. Evelyn Montanez, to speak with the male care givers in attendance. The turnout for the event was tremendous, with approximately 50 fathers, uncles, grandfathers and brothers in attendance. Dr. Jeter spoke of his experiences raising two children and the lessons he learned along the way. He encouraged the attendees to continue to foster a supportive community amongst themselves and praised them for their involvement in their children's lives. Most importantly, he encouraged them to support their children in following their dreams and goals.

After the inspiring words from Dr. Jeter, the fathers, caregivers and children moved to the gym. Here they would learn teamwork skills through the game of basketball. The adults paired up with their younger counterparts to participate in numerous activities that would help them become closer and grow together. The children lit-up as they saw their guardians take the court with them. After numerous drills the groups headed to the Turn 2 Us cafeteria to finish the night with a pizza party. After dinner, gifts and certificates were given to each family for their outstanding efforts. It was an extremely positive and encouraging evening for all involved.

Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $19 million in grants.

Learn more »

Social Change Project
The Project is an event created to share one of the Foundation's principles with communities. Learn more »

Turn 2 Foundation Dinner
The 18th Annual Turn 2 Foundation Dinner raised more than $1 million for youth initiatives. Learn more »


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