Ninth annual Youth Summit on Healthy Behaviors held October 9
Event attracts approximately 600 students, teachers from 7 Cenla parishes
As part of its Healthy Behaviors Initiative, The Rapides Foundation hosts the Youth Summit on Healthy Behaviors each year as a way for Central Louisiana students to learn how to become advocates for healthy choices and policy change in their schools and communities.
The ninth annual Youth Summit on Healthy Behaviors was held October 9, with approximately 600 students and teachers from seven Central Louisiana school districts attending the event at the Randolph Riverfront Center. The theme was #MoveMore #EatWell #LiveClean, and the event included youth advocacy presentations, energizer breaks, and breakout sessions to educate summit participants on the issues of tobacco prevention, substance and alcohol abuse prevention, and healthy eating and active living. Presenters included nationally recognized advocates in those focus areas.
Matt Bellace, a motivational speaker and comedian who has a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology, the study of the brain and behavior, presented the opening session. Bellace’s keynote titled “A Better High” focused on using healthy natural highs such as exercise, mediation or laughter instead of unhealthy coping strategies like vaping nicotine and alcohol.
The 2019 summit was planned with a group of youth advocates from throughout Cenla who serve on the Foundation’s Youth Summit Staff. In addition to assisting with summit planning, Youth Summit Staff members learn leadership, teambuilding, research and public speaking skills.
Summit attendees are students and teachers participating in the Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors School District Partnership Grant. The goal of the grant is to provide students, staff and teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to make better and informed behavior decisions leading to healthier lives. Participating school districts in the 2019-20 grant are Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides and Vernon.