Farmworker Justice Features Exciting New Work on Preventing Childhood Obesity

Rodrigo and Juana step into the migrant head start center in their local community after a long day of harvesting strawberries. Their young children, Amelia and Mario, have attended pre-school here for the past year, and the whole family is happy with the program; the children are excited about the activities and Juana and Rodrigo receive much-needed support from the teachers and administration. When they arrive home, the children pile out of the car and immediately clamor for attention. Juana looks in exasperation at Rodrigo, both recognizing they have a lot to do before bedtime arrives, yet conflicted because they want to spend time with their children after a day apart.

Moments such as this served as inspiration for Farmworker Justice (FJ) in the ​​creation of the Juntos Nos Movemos training. Recognizing the constraints faced by many farmworker families due to long and physically exhausting work days, FJ sought to create a series of activities for families that could be fun, purposeful, culturally-appropriate and honor the daily life of farmworkers. FJ partnered with the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Collaboration Office to develop Juntos Nos Movemos, a curriculum for agricultural worker families with a specific focus on increased physical activity as a means of reducing and ultimately preventing childhood obesity in agricultural worker children. Juntos Nos Movemos aims to increase both the frequency and variety of physical activity that agricultural worker parents can engage in with their children when they are home. It seeks to help parents make the most of limited free time with their children by giving parents the skills to identify several short (15 to 20 minutes) blocks of time in which to engage in a variety of fun and culturally appropriate physical activities with their children.

Juntos Nos Movemos is designed as a train-the-trainer model. Community health workers, outreach staff, and family service workers will be the trainers and their primary audience is agricultural worker parents. Staff will train other staff at the health centers and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start centers (or applicable sites), sharing the skills and knowledge taught in the training, while simultaneously providing staff with the opportunity to deepen and refocus different aspects of the training to better address realities and challenges of physical activity experienced by agricultural workers in their community. 

Juntos Nos Movemos provides training participants with materials for staff and agricultural workers, including a flipchart for trainers and a worksheet (“My Week”) for families. The curriculum is designed as a training manual for outreach workers, family service workers, and other applicable staff. The flipchart is designed for use with agricultural worker families; the curriculum contains a component for staff to learn how to use this tool most effectively with their intended audience. There is a user-friendly guide for the flipchart that helps guide the trainer in a page-by-page approach. The My Week Worksheet is a take-home resource for agricultural worker families to help them track their physical activity after they receive the training. The Juntos Nos Movemos curriculum, flipchart and worksheet are intended to be used together to achieve the greatest impact.

You can access these innovative materials on Farmworker Justice’s website. We encourage you to reach out to Rebecca Young, Senior Project Director – Community Engagement, at [email protected] for more information about this training.