From 1995 to 1997, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Princeton, N.J., carried out a planning project to incorporate a specific focus on health into the National School and Community Corps program funded by the national service program (AmeriCorps).
The National School and Community Corps is active in 65 elementary, middle, and high schools in Philadelphia. It has 245 members, ranging in age from 18 to 83, whom it has enlisted for mentoring, tutoring, managing after-school activities, and providing other support to families and youth in their neighborhoods.
In working with parents, Corps participants frequently encounter a variety of health issues, such as failure to obtain or take medication, which they are not prepared to handle.
Through a consultant the National School and Community Corps developed a report that provided a blueprint for a new initiative that was to build on the organization's accomplishments in Philadelphia and elsewhere.
The report concluded that Corps members have the opportunity and ability to add health to the work they are already doing for children and their families in Philadelphia's distressed schools and neighborhoods, and that adding health to their current mission was a feasible goal.
The Corps secured funding from the Philadelphia schools to field a health team to augment the efforts of corps members.