Stronger Together: Building Opportunities for Outdoor Activity and Health

Trails do more than just connect places. They can provide important opportunities to build connections between organizations and people, too. Learn about some existing successful partnerships and the way they are creating active places for health.

About the Panel

  • Ms. Petra Baker has been involved in education for over 27 years. She has spent twenty years at Gateway Michael School, a school that serves medically fragile children with multiple disabilities, ages three through fourteen. She taught for fourteen years as an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher prior to becoming a Principal. Ms. Baker participates in the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities (HSHC) initiative leading the charge in living a healthier life. She has personally lost by walking weekly with her students, exercising with staff, and eating healthier. She spends time in Gateway Michael’s Community Garden with her staff, students, and parents. Through these efforts, this year Gateway Michael was one of only eight schools in the nation and the first and only school in Missouri to be recognized as a Gold School, from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Prior to reaching Gold, Gateway Michael School received a Bronze and Silver Award from the Alliance. She holds the following degrees; a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Alcorn State University in Lorman, MS, a Masters in Educational Administration and an Education Specialist Degree in Administration from the University of MO, St. Louis.
  • As a Community Health Partner for BJC School Outreach and Youth Development, Erica Oliver convenes community members to promote the process of creating healthy change in the city of St. Louis. Funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health, the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities initiative partners BJC HealthCare with the St. Louis Public School District and communities throughout the city to create opportunities for kids and families to eat healthy and be active.  Prior to her work as a Community Health Partner, Erica was a health educator with BJC School Outreach and Youth Development.  Erica holds a Masters of Arts in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University and is a Certified Domestic Violence Professional.
  • As the Healthy Schools Healthy Communities Project Director, Leanne White presides over all aspects of the Missouri Foundation for Health, Healthy Schools Healthy Communities grant within the St. Louis Public School District. She facilitates the process of creating healthy change in St. Louis Public Schools, specifically targeting the 11 school sites participating in the Missouri Foundation for Health, Healthy Schools Healthy Communities grant. This unique initiative sponsored by Missouri Foundation for Health allows for the St. Louis Public School District to partner with BJC School Youth and Outreach Development in a comprehensive approach to prevent childhood obesity among students in grades K-8 across the district. Prior to her current position as the HSHC Project Director, Leanne was the Project Director for the Carol M. White, Department of Education PEP grant – AIM for Fitness with St. Louis Public Schools and the Supervisor for K-12 Physical Education and Health. Leanne holds a Masters of Education in Administration from Missouri State University and an Education Specialist Degree in School Administration from Webster University. Leanne has co-authored articles and abstract presentations. Articles published in peer-reviewed journals – Preventing Chronic Disease Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy and PLOS/ONE.