Event held for middle and high school students
As part of its Healthy Behaviors Initiative, The Rapides Foundation invited close to 650 area middle and high school students to its annual Youth Summit on Healthy Behaviors to learn how to become advocates for healthy choices and policy change in their schools and communities.
The Summit, now in its 12th year, was held October 17-19 at the Country Inn and Suites in Pineville, with more than 200 students from Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn parishes attending each day.
“Schools are an important part of most young people’s lives and therefore provide a critical setting for many prevention and intervention efforts under our Healthy Behaviors Initiative,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. “The goal is to provide students, staff and teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to make better and more informed behavior decisions leading to healthier lives.”
#MoveMore #EatWell #LiveClean was the theme for the event, which included an opening session, energizer breaks and breakout sessions to educate participants on the issues of tobacco prevention, substance and alcohol misuse prevention, and healthy eating and active living. Presenters included advocates in those focus areas.
K-Lynn McKey from the School of Kinesiology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette was the opening speaker. McKey has a bachelor’s degree in K-12 health and physical education and a master’s degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Pedagogy and Psychological Sciences from LSU. Her presentation reminded students that while healthy eating, active living, mental health, physical health and healthy choices are all important, everyone has their own passion, purpose and focus.
“You need to start forming healthy habits now. Find the thing that you can focus on and be a champion for, and take it back to your family and community,” she challenged the students. “The stuff you learn in here and in your health class, those are the skills that will affect you for a lifetime.”
The Substance and Alcohol Misuse Prevention session was presented by Dominique Teasley and Jarvis Fountaine, who shared their personal stories of overcoming addiction. They currently serve as counselors and advocates to help others. Their stories were featured on the Foundation’s See How I Face Tomorrow (SHIFT) campaign.
Healthy Eating/Active Living was presented by the team from JiggAerobics, featured on Shark Tank. Their hands-on, engaging presentation included interactive scenarios and fun, live music designed to increase healthy eating, active living and positive thinking. JiggAerobics also led energizer sessions throughout the day.
Tobacco Prevention and Control was led by students from the Foundation’s Youth Health Advocates program, who shared their knowledge about the harmful effects of tobacco and vaping.
Students and teachers who attended the Summit are part of the Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors School District Partnership Grant.
Check out the gallery below for more photos!