Catalyst is a statewide youth movement implemented and designed by Community Blueprint. Catalyst engages youth on three critical public health issues, physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco prevention.
Catalyst was originally created to involve youth in passing Minnesota’s Freedom to Breathe act. Since the law’s passage, Catalyst has expanded its mission to tackle childhood obesity as well. Community Blueprint has been involved in Catalyst each and every step of the way, from program design to implementation.
Community Blueprint researched Catalyst’s messaging and created its unique visual design. We work to recruit, organize and engage Catalyst youth, produce web content and video, implement public relations strategies and coordinate events.
Catalyst has reached more than 4,500 students and engaged communities across Minnesota. The program has advocated for local and statewide public health policy, developed lasting relationships and created positive change in the lives of youth and adults throughout our state.
Catalyst Summit 2007 – This was our kickoff summit for Catalyst. Our main message was to generate positive youth media for the upcoming Freedom To Breathe act that made all bars and restaurants in Minnesota go smoke free. It was a weekend-long event taking place at the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. One hundred students from across Minnesota gathered to learn more about the tobacco industry, how it makes and markets its product, and how they could get involved in fight back. The event culminated in a march through St. Paul up to the Capitol to thank the key legislators who made the bill possible.
Our second Catalyst Summit was built upon the success of the first. Our Catalyst youth board took what they learned from their year involved in the program to design all the curriculum and take the program to the next level. All programs were peer-led, and the activism event was planned by our students. We gathered 1,200 t-shirts to represent the 1,200 people who die every day from tobacco related causes and strung them up around Mears Park in downtown St. Paul. This sent a message to the area that students will not be the next target of the tobacco industry. The event was replicated around Minnesota and around the country.
The Catalyst Mini-Summit was the first in our transition to working on healthy eating. The event took place at Concordia College in Duluth, MN. We worked with our youth board on how to talk about the issue with students, and what topics students are most interested in. We had hands on cooking demos, a session on school lunch, and a session based on the book Eat This Not That.
The 2010 Catalyst Summit was our first weekend summit dedicated to healthy eating and physical activity. We took what we had learned from a year of working on healthy eating and physical activity policy and put it to work. We also filmed a short video that students later played in their schools. You can view here.
The 2011 Catalyst summit was a build on the momentum of 2010. We issued 10 $1,000 mini-grants to students across the state, those students recruited their friends and all converged on the 2011 summit. It was an incredible time for students to hear what each other had done in their schools over the past year, learn new things, and meet new people. We also filmed a new public service announcement focused on educating young people about the correlation between sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity.