City Recreation organizing H.Y.P.E. group
The Florence Recreation Department hosted an open meeting last week to explain and encourage involvement in H.Y.P.E. (Healthy Young People Empowerment Project). Attending the meeting held Feb. 29 in City Council Chambers in the City Center were parents and teens nominated for the project by school counselors, teachers and administrators for their outstanding leadership qualities. Selected students must be highly motivated in order to serve on the H.Y.P.E. team.
The project is designed to motivate and engage youth in policy, systems and environmental obesity changes in local communities, explained adult advisor April Alston. The students will meet at the Barnes Center one Saturday each month from 9 a.m until noon. The first meeting will be held on March 19. Participating students will be given cameras to document areas for improvement and bring back to the group.
They will visit local neighborhoods and areas where people gather, such as parks and ballparks, to look for ways to promote healthy eating and exercise, such as bike riding and walking. The students also will collaborate with students across the state to help create healthy and safe communities. Participating in H.Y.P.E. offers students the opportunity to make a difference, make new friends, explore the Internet, bring something for their resume and a chance to have fun, said David Caldwell, a member of the H.Y.P.E. support team.
The H.Y.P.E. project is a partnership with the Eat Smart, Move More Initiative of South Carolina, the University of South Carolina School of Public Health and DHEC to create the Healthy South Carolina Initiative. “Youth advocacy for obesity prevention has been called the next wave of social change for health,” according to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.