New Youth Ambassadors will help Midvale youth lead healthier lifestyles
Aug 29, 2018 11:17AM
● By Jana Klopsch
Midvale Youth Ambassadors Morgan Miller, Amelia Slama-Catron and Kosha Hansen, seen here with Midvale Mayor Robert Hale and Midvale Youth Ambassador Program Adviser Candy Tippets, met with the Midvale City Council members in August. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Six-year-old Madison Fairchild and her four-year-old sister, Olivia, traveled from Herriman to watch the Midvale Harvest Days parade in their great-grandfather’s front yard. They waved to “princesses” on the Midvale City float.
“I want to be like them because they’re pretty,” Olivia said, adding that she’d like to be on the Midvale float someday.
The two easily mistook Midvale’s “princesses” as the three new youth ambassadors, who according to Midvale Youth Ambassador Program Adviser Candy Tippets, “are better than princesses.”
The three ambassadors — Morgan Miller, Amelia Slama-Catron and Kosha Hansen — will represent Midvale this year and through a joint platform, reach youth in the community to help them lead healthier lifestyles. All three are Hillcrest High students.
They were formally introduced during Midvale’s Harvest Days celebration Aug. 8, when they presented their detailed platform, which included physical activity, healthy eating and goal setting.
“It’s the first time I have had youth who are ambitious and hard-working do a joint project,” said Tippets, who has overseen the program 13 years since its inception. “These youth are the face of Midvale City and are creating a service project for the year that will make an impact in our community.”
Midvale’s Youth Ambassador Program, which was created by former Midvale Mayor JoAnn Seghini and the Midvale Arts Council, is service-leadership program for students, from high school juniors through age 24 who are attending college within a 40-mile radius of the city or are planning to attend college the next year. Ambassadors choose a service platform to complete during their one-year term where they represent the city at groundbreakings, city council meetings and ribbon-cuttings ceremonies.
“These youth are the face of Midvale City. They’re providing leadership and this year’s ambassadors are working with elementary students, showing the next generation that they can become leaders,” she said.
Tippets said this year’s ambassadors decided to merge ideas into a healthy lifestyle platform, which they will share with youth at the Midvale Boys and Girls Club and the Midvale Road Home Family Shelter as well as throughout the city.
Through a soccer camp Morgan plans to hold targeted for first-graders through fifth-graders this fall, she plans to teach students the benefits of being physically active.
“Soccer is a good way to help develop skills, as well as muscles,” she said. “It also helps with communication skills and it’s a good way they can make friends.”
She also hopes it will become a lifestyle change so once these students become physically active, it will carry them through high school and life.
“A lot of kids in the U.S. are spending more than seven hours in front of the screen playing video games, watching TV, on the computer. Physical activity shouldn’t be a chore, it should be something you want to do,” she said.
Tying into the soccer camp will be the value of healthy eating, planned by Amelia, who also will spearhead several community non-perishable snack food drives to distribute to the youngsters.
She will take her healthy eating presentation, which includes healthy snacks and easy meal preparation suggestions, to the Community Building Communities fall health fair as well as throughout the community so both children and parents can learn alike “how simple it can be to gradually incorporate fresh and nutritious food into their lifestyles.”
At the introduction, Amelia pointed out that by preparing healthy foods and snacks ahead of time would be beneficial if people are “on the run.”
“By preparing these meals in advance, and just grabbing a container when you need to go, you save time, money and your health will improve,” she said.
Amelia also shared with the community the recent announcement that East Midvale, Copperview and Midvale elementaries as well as Midvale Middle now qualify for the Community Eligibility Program, which allows schools to offer free, healthy lunches to any students who attend the schools. The goal, she said, is to make eating a balanced diet become a habit.
“Helping kids to learn how to eat healthy not only impacts them now, but in their future.” Amelia said.
The third component of their platform is the importance of setting goals in their lives, which Kosha will lead.
Not only will the healthy lifestyle goals be on physical activity and healthy eating, but Kosha will lead elementary students into setting goals to be successful in school and in life.
“I’ll work with students one-on-one, helping them apply their reading and math to goal setting and developing healthy, strong relationships,” she said. “I want them to feel confident and want to succeed so they can accomplish hard things.”
Kosha, herself, knows how it feels to overcome challenges. In kindergarten and first grade, she would blink a lot, hoping the letters on the page would be in focus.
“I was pretty far-sighted. I couldn’t see the letters, but I didn’t tell anyone. I got so far behind in reading and was pulled out in a small group so I missed what everyone else was doing. I didn’t like that. I liked learning and felt I was missing out,” she said.
Already, the youth ambassadors have participated in several community events such as the annual Harvest Days and have been on the Midvale float in summer parades.
“It’s fun to give the little kids compliments and see their faces light up and realize the impact we can have,” Kosha said.
Typically, each year, three to five ambassadors are selected, with several good candidates turned away.
“I’ve had some amazing kids who now are doctors and are doing amazing things in the medical field inventing things, and those who are outstanding in banking, foreign policy, give service to foreign countries and several fields,” Tippets said. “Their platforms have run the gamut through the years.”
The service platforms ambassadors have performed extends from recycling to teen pregnancy education, youth music to diabetes testing.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the youth. It’s been a great learning experience for the youth ambassadors to take their ideas from brainstorming to working through difficulties to actually accomplish them and make an impact in the community,” Tippets said. “I’m impressed at the level of service these young people desire to give — even with their busy high school schedules. Many of them are officers in clubs, on sports teams and in band and orchestra, yet they want to serve their community. It’s always been impressive to me.”
At the ceremony, the 2017-2018 ambassadors talked about their projects.
Alan Andrade identified Midvale’s historic roots through his platform, “Development and Transition of Midvale City”; AnnaMarie Dallimore shared with the community “Kids Eat” and gathered food donations for the Midvale Boys & Girls Club as well as Neighborhood House through “Strength and Charity Together in Midvale”; Lauren Cecchini increased awareness and organized people to donate blood to the Red Cross through to her platform, “Learning to Live — Mental Illness Awareness and Understanding”; and Justin Canals brought in representatives from the athletic departments at Southern Utah University and Westminster College so high school athletes could learn about college sports in “Better Understanding the Recruitment Process.”
As a thank-you for their service, the four ambassadors were awarded a $1,000 scholarship for the college they will attend. They also received a letter of recommendation from Midvale Mayor Robert Hale.
Next year’s Midvale Youth Ambassador Program applications are due in May. Tippets said the application includes students’ academic achievements, citizenship, activities and letter of recommendation as well as how they want to make an impact in their community.