With September being National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to showcase a long time partner organization, The Oliver Foundation, a Houston-based 501(c)(3) non-profit operating foundation dedicated to the prevention of childhood obesity. In fact, they were integral players in the creation and development of our OWG Shorts!
One innovative thing about the Oliver Foundation is their Teen Board. Their mission is to energize kids and teens to be more health conscious through community and school outreach projects that encourage lifelong healthy eating and physical activity habits. Currently there are 12 members on the Teen Board who serve as role models to their peers by promoting their motto: “YEAH!”– YOUTH EXCITED ABOUT HEALTH! We were fortunate to catch up with current Teen Board President, Danielle Fournier, and Treasurer, Cameron Markoff, to get some scoop:
Why did you choose to become apart of the teen board?
“When I learned about the board in 8th grade I had already developed an interest in fitness and health through a number of other activities. It seemed like a great fit for me because the board allowed hands-on involvement as well as opportunity to be apart of a meaningful charity.” – Danielle
“I chose to become apart of the teen board after a past member approached me in 9th grade after a student government meeting where the main discussion had been about changing our school’s lunches to something healthier. She noticed my interest in this topic, and told me about the Oliver Foundation. After she told me about all the good work the foundation board does and the numerous valuable life lessons she learned; I knew the Oliver Foundation was something I wanted to become a part of.” – Cameron
How does nutrition and health play a role in your life?
“Almost everything I do outside of school somehow relates to healthy living. I have coached gymnastics for 4 years and I am a frequent speaker at conventions and meetings. I’ve conducted original research at Baylor College of Medicine to support a middle school obesity curriculum. I’ll be interning this school year with a health and nutrition professional, and I am President of the Oliver Foundation Teen Advisory Board.” – Danielle
“Nutrition and health play a daily role in my life. I try to make conscious choices about what I choose to eat, and I try to make choices that help create a healthier environment for me to live in.” – Cameron
What is your favorite part about influencing young kids to help live healthy lifestyles?
“Children need strong role models and they naturally look up to older students. I find mentoring to be fruitful but also incredibly fun and rewarding. It’s fulfilling to be a living example and to teach others about fitness and nutrition.” – Danielle
“I think its important that teenagers and young adults serve as role models for their community and its extremely important for young children to know it is easy for them to live a healthy lifestyle. It is awesome seeing children at our events enjoying healthy snacks and engaging in active lifestyles. Many of them do not realize how easy it is, and seeing a difference in the young children’s choices is very rewarding.” – Cameron
The Oliver Foundation is currently awarding Healthy Choices grants to Texas non-profit organizations, agencies and schools that demonstrate the greatest need and likelihood of a sustainable impact on children’s nutrition and activity levels through innovative programs. The deadline for this grant cycle is October 15th.
Visit www.oliverfoundation.org for complete grant guidelines and application.