Igniting a youth movement – for a new, healthier generation
Over 30% of children in the Austin, Texas, area are overweight or obese, a challenge that can begin to be addressed with greater awareness of good nutrition and health. Many students in the region are also economically disadvantaged or at risk of dropping out of school, and may not realize the profoundly positive difference they can make in their communities, when given the tools and training to do so.
Since 2007, Legacy of Giving education programs have enabled over 35,000 students to act as advocates for various causes. Legacy is the only academic-based service-learning program in Austin. With support from the Aetna Foundation, Legacy is now introducing the social concerns of youth obesity and wellness to more than 4,000 students across 36 schools through an innovative nutrition and wellness curriculum. Through A Youth Movement for Healthy Change, students are learning to act as advocates, designing projects that propose healthy change in their schools and communities.
The organization is launching a multimedia curriculum, aligned with educational standards, among 5th to 11th graders across 36 local schools. Children will learn about the science of food, obesity trends, calories, food processing, food marketing, portion size, nutrition labels, food deserts, and how to make a community impact. Students are calling for healthy changes within their schools and communities, and are producing video public service announcements (PSAs) to raise awareness.
Through their advocacy work, the students ultimately will reach more than 20,000 of their peers, as well as the community, with a message of healthy living. These advocates also will attend the Youth Film and Healthy Food Festival with their families. At the festival, students will explore nutritious food and lifestyle options at booths, student-made PSA’s will be showcased and placed in a competition. The winning PSA will air through a local media sponsor, giving the entire community a glimpse of the positive impact these students are having on youth health.