Michigan 4-H receives Wal-Mart Healthy Living grant from National 4-H

Michigan 4-H receives $55,000 grant to assist county 4-H clubs, camps and groups in increasing efforts around becoming a healthier and active 4-H community.

Michigan 4-H has been awarded $55,000 through the Wal-Mart Youth Voice: Youth Choice Healthy Living grant. In December 2015, the 4-H Healthy Living work team will award 12 counties mini grants up to $3,500 to assist county 4-H clubs, camps and groups in increasing efforts around becoming a healthier and active 4-H community. Michigan 4-H will build upon existing community partnerships and create new ones to combat nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical fitness in youth. The Wal-Mart Youth Voice: Youth Choice Healthy Living funding will give counties an opportunity for current and newly recruited 4-Hers to poll the community about nutrition and fitness needs developing a needs assessment. The data collected will drive the type of programs or challenges that will increase good nutrition and physical activity in participating counties.

Michigan 4-H Healthy Living Challenge county program sites will utilize the National 4-H curriculum STEPS to a Healthy Teen: Segments to Emphasize Physical activity and nutrition; Jump Into Foods and Fitness (JIFF), a research-based curriculum for adults and older teens to use with kids 8-11 years old; and 4-H Yoga for kids written by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Services. The 4-H curriculum will accompany the Let’s Move program, America’s move to raise a healthier generation of kids, and our president and First Lady’s health and fitness initiative, the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) Challenge – physical activity and healthy eating. These two national healthy challenge programs and objectives align perfect with the Michigan 4-H Healthy Living Challenge program.

Youth and teens will learn and participate in these programs and challenges and go home and share them with their families. About 50-100 4-H teen ambassadors will be trained to facilitate sessions, workshops and activities utilizing the previously mentioned curriculum and national healthy living programs. Also, teen ambassadors will conduct demonstrations on how to download and use the Eat and Move-O-Matic app for cell phones or tablets. With this app, youth will learn about the foods they eat and how they help fuel your body for your favorite activities.

The Eat and Move-O-Matic app is a simple and fun way to engage kids and adults alike in learning about the relationship between nutrition and exercise. After the kids become familiar with this app, they will go home and share it with their parents and siblings, causing a ripple effect of increased nutrition and physical fitness knowledge. Once knowledge is increased, families will make better food choices and create exercise time. 4-Hers can take pictures with their cell phones and program equipment, such as cameras and tablets, and post their healthy progress on the Michigan 4-H Healthy Living Facebook page. Teen ambassadors will also create and maintain 4-H Healthy Living Challenge blogs to capture the nutrition and fitness PSAs, camps, gardens and other programs.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development Program is excited about this new funding to create and expand programs around fitness, nutrition and gardening. 

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