Youth Health Leadership program recognizes Cohort III

Youth Health Leadership (YHL), a program that trains youth to become leaders for health in Leon County, is recruiting its third cohort.

A signature program of the Childhood Obesity Prevention Education (COPE) Project, YHL engages youth in promoting and improving health and wellness with their peers, their family members, and the broader community.

For Cohort III, which begins in February 2015, we are seeking a total of 15 high school youth (14-18 years of age) as new recruits who will be selected through a competitive process.

YHL includes six weeks of activities including educational sessions on total health, diet and physical activity; an application rotation or community-based internship in either service learning or professional development; and the development of a youth-driven health campaign. Two additional months provide informal time for youth to implement the health campaign and handle other follow-up activities.

Benefits of youth being involved include the opportunity to increase knowledge about health and improve health behaviors, learn leadership skills, develop organizational skills, and participate in service learning.

Youth who participated in earlier cohorts of YHL increased their intake of fruits and vegetables; decreased intake of foods high in fat, sodium and sugar; decreased visits to fast food restaurants; increased daily minutes of physical activity; and decreased recreational technology use. Several youth have used YHL as the base for applying for broader leadership opportunities in the local community and the state.

Funded by the Florida Blue Foundation, the COPE Project was initiated in 2010 and now has a Coalition of over 80 organizations in Tallahassee/Leon County. The mission of COPE is to develop and implement a plan of action to decrease childhood obesity in Tallahassee.

Lead organizations for the COPE Project are FAMU Institute of Public Health, Florida Family Network, Inc., Greater Frenchtown Revitalization Council, and FSU Center on Better Health and Life for Underserved Populations.

Applications for YHL must be returned by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. For a copy of the application or for more information, please call (645-8110) or email Dr. Penny Ralston (pralston@fsu.edu), Dr. Iris Young-Clark (iyoungclark@fsu.edu) or Mr. Gativitis Price (gaprice@fsu.edu).