Eleven Organizations in Maryland Celebrate Global Youth Service Day with Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs Sponsored by UnitedHealthcare and Youth Service America
Eleven of hundreds of youth-led events across the country to address childhood obesity
Eleven youth-serving organizations across Maryland, which were awarded a $500 to $1,000 UnitedHealth HEROES Grant from UnitedHealthcare and Youth Service America (YSA) in January, celebrated Global Youth Service Day April 20-22. UnitedHealth HEROES supports youth-led service-learning initiatives addressing childhood obesity and healthy lifestyles.
Funded by grants provided by UnitedHealthcare, these projects were designed to encourage young people—working with educators and youth leaders—to create and implement hands-on programs that prevent obesity. Maryland grantees who hosted events across Maryland in honor of Global Youth Service Day include:
- Greenbelt Middle School Camp Fire Program - Baltimore City Holds on to Health (Baltimore City)
Program engaged elementary and middle school students in Baltimore to create service learning projects that taught participants life skills in the areas of health and wellness.
- Greenbelt Middle School Camp Fire Program - Hold On to Health Outreach to Hispanic Youth Community (Greenbelt & Langley Park)
Program engaged college and high school students in projects that encouraged younger Hispanic youth to make good decisions about healthy living in Greenbelt and Langley Park.
- Tri-County Youth Services Bureau - TCYSB All Stars Project (St. Mary’s County)
Program was a semester long education campaign focusing on combating childhood obesity in St. Mary's County and culminated with a Kids Health and Wellness Carnival on Global Youth Service Day.
- Tri-County Youth Services Bureau - RACE (Read, Act, Cook, and Exercise) 2B Fit (St. Mary’s County)
Program used reading as a method to teach nutrition and encourage physical activity and healthy eating. The program culminated with a Kids Health and Wellness Carnival on Global Youth Service Day.
- Oakdale High School - Healthy Hearts and Heads (Ijamsville)
A multifaceted program that addressed the needs of an economically disadvantaged population through education and programming that improved the health, and subsequently, the academic success of each child.
- Yobics, Inc. - Yobics 4 Kids (Forestville)
A program that consisted of yoga, aerobics, sports and isometric exercises designed to reduce the childhood and diabetes rates by helping young people ages 5 to 25 get in shape, lose weight, learn balance, focus, patience, and healthy eating habits, while improving academics.
- Southern Christian Leadership Conference - Combating Obesity (College Park)
Program hosted cultural workouts (Zumba, Steel Pan/ Calypso, African Drums, and Capoeira) at the Nyumburu Cultural Center in February to engage students using vibrant and fun methods of exercise.
- Gwynn Park High School Foods Program - UnitedHealth Heroes of Gwynn Park High School (Brandywine)
Program promoted a school-wide initiative of healthy eating and 60 minutes of fun and engaging physical activity daily. They will host a community-wide walkathon in honor of Global Youth Service Day April 20.
- Creative Kids - Mind, Mouth, Muscles (Essex)
Afterschool program participants purchased children's plain t-shirts and tank tops, decorated them with a fight obesity message, and distributed them to area communities and school children.
- Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital Troop 6202 - Water. The Best Possible Choice (Waldorf)
Program conducted a semester-long service project during which children were provided with the opportunity to drink water during lunch. Troop members prepared promotional material to educate and inform members about the benefits of water.
- James Hubert Blake High School - Take Your Mark (Silver Spring)
Program educated parents, guardians and the athletes of Junior and Varsity sports teams in the community about healthy eating habits. They hosted a sports awards night celebrating the young people’s success with the program in honor of Global Youth Service Day.
Over a four-year period, UnitedHealthcare and YSA have awarded more than $650,000 in UnitedHealth HEROES grants, funding nearly 1,000 projects and engaging more than 75,000 kids across the country in the fight against childhood obesity.
“Global Youth Service Day is a moment when the world stands in awe of young people and their power to create positive community change,” said Steven A. Culbertson, president and CEO of YSA. “UnitedHealth HEROES invites young people to be a part of the solution to childhood obesity, one of the biggest issues facing their generation. UnitedHealth HEROES grants are empowering kids to be the leaders of today and tomorrow.”
In its 24th year, Global Youth Service Day mobilizes and activates millions of young people to improve their communities through service. Youth-led events and projects take place April 20 through 22, 2012, in 100 countries and all 50 states. Projects range from peer-education workshops and awareness campaigns, to initiatives that address complex issues such as childhood obesity, water scarcity and human rights.
“With UnitedHealth HEROES, we are helping young people take action to improve their health and the health of their peers,” said Jim Cronin, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic. “This year, we are engaging our employee volunteers to support these programs and events. These kids are so passionate and engaged in their communities and we want to help them achieve their goals.”
For more information about Global Youth Service Day, visit www.GYSD.org.
YSA (Youth Service America) improves communities by increasing the number and diversity of young people serving in substantive roles. Through mobilization campaigns, grant programs, trainings and networking opportunities, YSA promotes a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership and achievement. Founded and sponsored by YSA, Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) is the largest service event in the world, celebrating and mobilizing the millions of children and youth who improve their communities each day of the year through service. For more information, visit www.GYSD.org and www.YSA.org.
Connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/globalyouthserviceday and on Twitter @GYSD.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.