Optimal Wellness for Life (OWL) Program | New Balance Foundation Owl on The Road Program

Providing Services in the Community 

The OWL on the Road (OOTR) Program brings comprehensive obesity management to families in Boston community health centers.  In 2015, OOTR launched a new program model.  The updated intervention is a 10-week comprehensive program that introduces families to healthful eating and supports them in making changes to benefit their entire family.  The program offers group and individual counseling and is led by a dietitian and psychologist from the OWL clinic.  Group discussions and interactive activities allow for peer support, skill building and knowledge sharing. 

Program Description

The curriculum-based OOTR program is offered every Thursday afternoon (4-7pm) at one of the following community health centers: Bowdoin Street Community Health Center in Dorchester, The Dimock Center in Roxbury, and South End Community Health Center in Boston.  The first six weeks are spent in a group format.  For the groups, parents and youth are separated and both groups discuss the same educational topic.  Following the educational intervention the groups unite for a healthy meal and a question and answer session.  Each class concludes with a hands-on activity to reinforce the main messages.  Upon completion of the groups participants attend 2-4 weeks of individual counseling with the dietitian and psychologist to develop behavior change strategies to support individual goals.

Through the program, patients learn:

  • How to shop for and prepare balanced meals and snacks
  • How sleep and screen time impact health
  • How small changes can be implemented to benefit the entire family
  • How to address body image and bullying

Parental Testimony, The Dimock Center

“The OWL program was the perfect learning platform for my daughter and I to fully understand healthy eating. I loved that it was family focused and the workshops were tailored to enhance our understanding through the hands on exercises. Telling my daughter prior to the nutrition classes that certain foods were not good, held little meaning and importance to her. However after a few sessions in OWL, she began to remind me what a balanced meal should look like. We have become so mindful now about what we are putting in our mouths and how we are taking care of our bodies.”

Program Staff

OOTR Program Manager: Leslie Mattimore, MS, RD, LDN, leslie.mattimore@childrens.harvard.edu
Community Programs Director: Christine Healey, MPH, christine.healey@childrens.harvard.edu