As the Nutrition Coordinator for Action for Boston Community Development INC. (ABCD) Head Start in Boston, Sonia Carter knows a great deal about what it takes to keep healthy. Carter directs nutrition and food services for 24 ABCD Head Start programs, directly impacting the health and well-being of 2,195 Head Start children and their families. We’re thrilled that she’ll be joining us as a faculty member for the SPARK! Leadership Conference in Boston Nov. 5. Carter will co-lead the breakout session “Parent to Parent: Fighting Obesity in Pre Schoolers” with Dr. Kirsten Davison, a widely published, Associate Professor of Nutrition and Director of the Public Health Nutrition concentration at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
Carter holds a Masters Degree in Management from Eastern Nazarene College, a Bachelor of Science in General Nutrition from Simmons College and a Maternal and Child Health Certificate from Boston University.
She and Davison are collaborating on implementing Communities for Healthy Living (CHL), the obesity prevention program Davison developed with Head Start parents and staff, in Boston area Head Start programs. The program engages parents and staff as collaborators in working to assist low-income parents in building the advocacy and life skills needed to instill healthier behaviors―such as healthier eating, more physical activity, and enough sleep―in their children. With funding from the National Institutes of Health, the program is being tested in a randomized controlled trial over the next four years.
A key component of CHL is parent-led information sessions for other parents that help them develop life skills like effective communication, health literacy, and the ability to identify and advocate for resources that promote health in their family. “Parents have a tremendous load of different concerns for their families, like where they live, safety, or mental or physical disabilities among their children,” Carter has said.“ I believe that this program will provide skills to help them better manage some of the issues that prevent them from living a healthy life.”
We look forward to hearing more about Carter’s work and CHL at the SPARK! Leadership Conference on Nov. 5. If you’re interested in improving the health and wellbeing of children in low-income families please register today so you can join us. See you on Nov. 5!