High Plains Healthy Texas Youth Ambassadors trained

Healthy Texas Youth Ambassador program

High Plains Healthy Texas Youth Ambassadors attended a summit in Amarillo. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

Teens made ready to discuss healthy habits with peers

AMARILLO – The 2019-2020 Healthy Texas Youth Ambassadors in the High Plains and South Plains, which make up the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service North Region, recently met in Amarillo for a summit.

High Plains Healthy Texas Youth Ambassadors  summit in Amarillo. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

The ambassador program is for high school age youth who have a passion for health and wellness. These youth are trained at the regional level to become youth health experts who can motivate others to make a change in their lifestyle to improve their health.

The summit is designed to build a foundation for youth leaders to deliver high-caliber, impactful programs to their peers, said Dr. Angela Burkham, interim state and North Region program leader for family and community health, Amarillo.

High Plains Healthy Texas Youth Ambassadors

Youth and their Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agents involved in the Healthy Texas Youth Ambassadors program listen during the summit in Amarillo. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kay Ledbetter)

“Our motto is ‘building healthy youth to build a healthy Texas,’ so these youth not only improve their own health but that of their community for years to come,” Burkham said.

Attending the Amarillo summit were 17 teens from seven different counties. The teens applied and were selected by a regional review team.

Each ambassador must complete and report 50 hours of leadership, program efforts or community service annually, attend face-to-face and online trainings and complete a two-year term.

During the summit, participants are introduced to a wide range of topics affecting youth, including nutrition, physical activity, relationships and mental health, said Miquela Smith, Healthy Texas program specialist, Amarillo. They also learn about the positive and negative impact of social media and how they can use it as an educational tool.

“Involving youth in the delivery of health education is critical because adolescents rely on each other as sources of information and support,” Smith said. “Trained Youth Ambassadors are in a unique position to positively impact the health of their peers.”

Topics of their training include: Connecting Ag and Health, Vaping: Is it Safe?, Healthy Relationships and Impact of Social Media.

Burkham and Smith said any schools or community organizations who would like to have one or more of the youth speak to a group can contact their local AgriLife Extension office, https://tinyurl.com/D1offices.

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