We recently had the opportunity to speak with Marvin Young who is a Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent at Prairie View A&M University. Marvin has been an integral part of bringing The OrganWise Guys programming into 8 schools in the Dallas area.
OWG: Prairie View Cooperative Extension initially partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas in 2006 to implement OWG programming in school around the state. What has your experience bringing this project to Dallas?
Marvin: I have worked to implement OWG in Dallas County since 2007. Due to Dallas County consisting of a large minority population and often labeled “limited resource, the program has allowed us to help children, parents, and families that need the most help first and at an early age. The collaborative efforts allow us to be on the frontline fighting to reduce diseases such as childhood obesity and diabetes in a fun and exciting manner. The resource provided by OWG and the manner in which they are delivered not only teach the students but also gives parents, teachers, and family members the change to take part and become empowered enough to help change and enhance the school environments as well as their personal lifestyles. We have the unique pleasure of working with more than 8 DISD elementary schools, the Grand Prairie YMCA, Rapturea Christian Church, The Bodies Exhibition (Dallas), and countless other community organizations to promote four simple rules:
- More fiber intake
- Less fat intake
- More water consumption
- More exercise.
OWG: We have personally witnessed your enthusiasm towards creating healthier children. What is your favorite part of your job?
Marvin: First, thanks for all that you have done to allow us to be a part of such a great program. My enthusiasm comes from the opportunity to help others move to “better places” in their lives. We may become everything we aspire to be, but we can get better, little by little. The best part of my job is when someone, especially a child or young person, smiles and says “thanks.” That lets me know that I have done something good for someone else. Though we may not be rich financially, there is something we can give to make someone else feel better, look better, and/or live a more comfortable life.
OWG: Is there an inspiriting story that comes to mind that you can share with us?
Marvin: There are many stories to be told, however, the inspiring thing to me is that I feel compelled to use OWG language in every program I present and in every aspect of my life. Even with these audiences I speak OWG language to help them better understand obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Countless times I have heard adults say to me, “You helped me understand much better than my doctor whom I am paying enormous amounts of money.” That is inspiring!
OWG: You have focused a lot on diabetes prevention. What kinds of diabetes education are you providing the kids?
Marvin: The best diabetes education that I provide the children with is the OWG programming and language. I drill “more fiber, less fat, more water, and more exercise” as much as possible. OWG is the basis to Diabetes Education, Awareness, and Prevention. Simply put, OWG is DEAP!
OWG: We recently heard about your work with the North Texas HardHitters Football team. Can you tell us more about what kind of work you are doing with this team?
Marvin: I have been working as their “Team Dad” and agreed to meet with them 1-2 times per week during the football season. I have introduced them to the OWG presentations and presented them with lessons that are directly taken from OWG. I have taught the importance of staying hydrated before, during, and after practice and games (More Water); they have been presented with lessons promoting healthy snacks consisting of fruits and vegetables (More Fiber/Less Fat); and they are kept on a strict exercise program that includes warm-ups, spring training, and regular fitness sessions 5 days a week with a certified personal fitness trainer (More Exercise). As a result of the coach’s agreement to only let them partake in healthy snacks, the moms have agreed to only serve them healthy snacks after a game. Moms have also reported that the children and their siblings are becoming more aware of healthier eating habits and will police each other as a way to continue to support one another. Finally, the team has complied a season record of 8 wins and 1 overtime loss. They are headed to the Premier Youth Football Championship this year. Go HardHitters!!!
OWG: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Marvin: I would just like to say that due to the death of my father and stepfather as result of complications from diabetes and collaborative efforts between OWG and Prairie View A&M/Cooperative Extension Program, I have become more passionate about childhood obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and the educational awareness efforts to prevent them. I thank you for allowing me to be a part of this movement. I will continue to support this movement as I live a more healthy and comfortable life.
Wow, Marvin! Thanks so much for sharing you passion and personal experiences. We are SO thankful for passionate individuals like you, great programs like Prairie View A&M Cooperative Extension and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas for making this happen!