A ‘WIN’ for wellness literacy

Lessonbee is an online education platform that provides health, social and emotional learning courses for millions of students. Its mission is to eliminate health illiteracy by providing relatable, relevant content on topics that can be challenging to discuss, including healthy relationships as well as sexual and mental health. 

“While young people have long been underserved when it comes to health education, the pandemic escalated their need for health, social and emotional learning resources,” said Katie McPollom, head of content and customer success at Lessonbee. “Lessonbee provides confidence-building interactive lessons and relatable activities that can be disseminated across schools and organizations, from teachers and school psychologists to social workers, and easily accessed by students from their own digital devices.” 

To help Lessonbee reach young people in a target area, low-income housing developments, the Westchester Innovation Network (WIN), a Business Council of Westchester initiative designed to connect innovative products and services with existing organizations to guide and support their development, paired the company with the Yonkers Housing Authority (YHA). 

Katie McPollom, head of content and customer success at Lessonbee, with student Ana Nunez at Yonkers Housing Authority. Courtesy Lessonbee.

YHA owns and manages a wide variety of affordable housing properties within the city of Yonkers and works collaboratively with federal and state officials to address the needs of families with low income. Often, its young residents lack role models who can provide accurate information about health and wellness. 

“Young people have a lot of questions about their health and well-being, and our tenants often don’t know where to turn to find that information,” said Wilson Kimball, president and CEO of YHA. “Lessonbee provides a safe space to deliver those answers.” 

As part of the WIN partnership, Lessonbee piloted its subscription-based content at one of YHA’s largest housing developments, a complex serving more than 1,700 families, most of whom are Spanish-speaking residents. 

McPollom and her team met with social workers who partner closely with YHA tenants to understand the housing authority community’s needs. Leveraging those insights, they catered Lessonbee content, addressing topics such as managing stress and building resilience, and delivered it via a series of health classes held at the complex. The content was also available to participants on their own devices, including school-issued Chromebooks. 

Through class participants, the Lessonbee team learned what learning formats resonate best with housing communities and how to best leverage existing community resources to reach young residents, address technology barriers and enable ready access to content.   

“Lessonbee provides an acknowledgement that there’s a pressing need for health and wellness information and an ability to fill it,” said Kimball. “They meet the children of today exactly where they are – at the computer – and provide a safe space to get answers when they don’t know where to turn.”  

McPollom said Lessonbee plans to replicate the pilot across municipalities, enhancing young lives through quality, narrative content that’s relatable and readily available. – edited by Georgette Gouveia