Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) is partnering with the 7th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church to teach teens about the Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project and to help guide them through a public health project that focuses on healthy eating and/or active living in their churches or communities. Up to ten HYPE teams from the AME’s Young People’s Division (YPD) programs around the state will be selected to receive up to $1,000 each to implement their project.
“Providing our youth with opportunities to form leadership skills and to then use those skills throughout life to better their church and communities is what our YPD is all about,” said Dr. Ila McFadden, YPD Director at the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church. “The HYPE Project will influence our youth to become leaders in public health and to consider health equity as being just as important as all other inequities in life.”
Currently, African-Americans experience disparities in access to healthy and affordable foods and safe places for physical activity, which are key factors in reducing obesity. To help rectify such disparities, selected HYPE teams will help their churches and communities by completing projects, such as community gardens, advocating for healthy eating and/or active living policies with their church, disability and inclusion for physical activity spaces, and healthy concessions/vending.
“The faith community has a long history of meeting the needs of their congregations and local communities, and this is especially true for African-American churches,” said Trimease K. Carter, Manager of Youth Engagement at ESMMSC. “This means the AME church will have an even larger impact on health equity and youth development.”
The 7th District covers all of South Carolina with close to 675 churches and 556 YDP organizations. The YPD program reaches more than 6,600 youth in South Carolina. Their focus it to provide meaningful youth training programs and opportunities for leadership experience in all areas of church life, as well as to advocate for the integrity of childhood and the dignity of all children and youth in the religious, civic, and political structure.
“Our partnership with the AME Church seems like a natural fit because we both have missions that address increasing opportunities for those in need in our communities. We’re looking forward to working with these youth and forging a great partnership with the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church,” said Carter.
Once the HYPE teams are selected, ESMMSC will provide the HYPE curriculum training at the YPD Retreat on March 8 in Columbia. Afterwards, the teams will return home and begin the process of choosing their project, working with church and community leaders, and implementing their plans.
For more information about the AME partnership, visit our youth engagement page.