Major Dukes is a 14-year-old from Greensboro, Georgia. Major served three years on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Youth Advisory Board—one of the only youth-led advisory groups in the country focused on childhood obesity issues.
It is hard to believe 3 years have passed. It all started in 2010. I was part of a youth panel at the Action for Healthy Kids in Georgia hosted by HealthMPowers. I was 11 years old and one of the youngest members of the panel. After the panel discussion, one of the leaders from HealthMPowers suggested I apply for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Youth Advisory Board.
I filled out the application and was selected and interviewed by phone. Later, I was called and congratulated on being chosen to serve on the Youth Advisory Board. My mom and I headed to Portland, Oregon, in the summer for training. At training, I met great kids from around the country that would help inspire other kids to be healthier. I also formed some friendships with the Board members and developed a support network to help me go back home to Georgia and motivated kids to be healthier.
My favorite memory of my time serving on the Youth Advisory Board was having the opportunity to speak to the Georgia General Assembly on Healthy Kids Day at the Capitol. After explaining the need for kids to learn about better health, I lead the Senators in a one minute power up—a fitness activity break to get everyone up and moving. It was fun watching the guys in suits get their heart rate up. When finished speaking my mom said, “You got large bi-partisan applause.”
Different kids from different backgrounds are members of the Board. Yet, when we get in a room together when are all concerned with ways to help challenge other kids to live a healthier life. Over the three years serving on the Board, there were always new members but our mission never changed.
Serving on the Alliance has taught me that one person can make a difference.
Serving on the Alliance has taught me that one person can make a difference. You have to find the need in your community, get allies and develop a plan. Small or large plans can still affect someone’s life choice to be healthier. Evaluate your program afterwards to make it better and just keep trying.
I will miss serving as a Board member this year, but it is time for new young leaders to learn how to impact kid’s health. The staff at the Alliance will definitely get you prepared.
The Alliance recently announced the Youth Advisory Board for 2013-2014. Read about the new group of inspiring youth who are committed to fighting childhood obesity and learn more about the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, at www.healthiergeneration.org.