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Since the beginning of 4-H in the early 1900’s, 4-H has been committed to helping young people live healthier, more productive lives. The Youth Voice: Youth Choice program encourages youth to take action around three healthy living priorities – nutrition, physical fitness, and safety.
Through the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, National 4-H Council was able to offer Healthy Living grants which provided 26,151 youth and 4,915 adults with the extraordinary chance to receive hands-on learning opportunities to achieve optimal physical, social, and emotional well-being.
Through state level 4-H programs, community healthy living action plans were developed and enhanced. Via local Youth Voice: Youth Choice programs occurring within camps, clubs, conferences, and/or summits, youth and adults began developing healthy living action plans to positively impact their community. These action plans were presented to state and/or local government officials, and promoted throughout each state, which will give others the opportunity to learn how to achieve a healthier life.
In 2009, National 4-H Council provided $750,000 in grants, funded by the Walmart Foundation, to impact the health and well-being of young people and their communities in 15 states. Each state received $50,000 to develop programs focused on developing and/or enhancing healthy living-focused programs at the community level. Grants were awarded to: Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin. These states were able to achieve 414% of our stated goal, which showed the desire for this type of education.
The grants were used to develop and implement a variety of action plans and programs including overnight camps focusing on physical health, nutrition workshops, and other hands-on, interactive activities that teach youth how to make wise choices about food, exercise, and safety.
Through these programs, numerous statewide partnerships have been developed which have not only strengthened the programs, but strengthened the message delivered. Some of the more impactful statewide partnerships include: National Guard, Departments of Education, and Foundations for Healthy Living, Departments of Natural Resources, American Red Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Departments of Transportation, and juvenile justice systems.
Each Youth Voice: Youth Choice grantee reached a minimum of 500 youth and their families in rural, suburban, and urban communities.
Programs were facilitated through existing forums such as State 4-H Ambassadors, Statewide Teen Conferences, 4-H Health Ambassadors, Teen Councils, and Teen Summits.
The project was evaluated based on the following criteria:
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