Thomas County Central High School sophomore, Paige Parkerson, has been selected to serve on the inaugural HealthMPowers Youth Advisory Board. HealthMPowers works to champion healthy habits and transform the environments where children live, learn, and play. Along with five other members of the board, Parkerson will lend her expertise to program implementation and improvements, and inform operations to enhance services for children and youth.
“I am excited just to meet other kids from the state and work to find ways to help kids get more involved in the choices they make in food and activities,” Parkerson said. “I want to have an impact on others and help create a better living and understanding for everyone.”
The Board was established as a result of feedback from youth during the creation of the 2022-2025 HealthMPowers Strategic Plan. The YAB is aligned with the organization’s strategy to deliver high-impact learning experiences that foster healthy habits— with a unique focus on youth voice. Board members will meet virtually once a month and serve for a minimum of one academic year.
“We understand the importance of giving young people a voice in their community and are committed to amplifying their perspectives and empowering them to feel heard, said Jennifer L. Owens, President and CEO of HealthMPowers. “I am very impressed with this new board and look forward to seeing what amazing things our youth leaders can accomplish together!”
The board met twice last year to work on establishing member roles, vote on a mission statement, and set plans 2023. During the third and final meeting of 2022, dubbed “dream session,” with Owens, the board discussed how they would address issues surrounding the lack of physical activity and access to nutritious foods for Georgia’s children and youth. The next meeting is June 1.
“It is my pleasure to work alongside this incredible group,” said Sequoya Howard, HealthMPowers Program Manager and Adult Facilitator, Youth Advisory Board. “This is a unique mentorship opportunity to inspire youth to take charge of their own lives by developing the self-advocacy and leadership skills needed for a successful future.”
The YAB provides an opportunity for members to explore interests in health and well-being, develop leadership skills, gain networking opportunities, and earn community service hours.
“I am thankful and honored to be a part of the first Youth Advisory Board,” Parkerson said. “I feel that I can bring a lot to the table for improvements and benefits in the future to the youth.”
Parkerson is involved in several school and community organizations and is active in many sports. She enjoys volunteering at Shop with a Yellow Jacket, Sweet Grass Dairy Farm Camp, and Vacation Bible School. She plans to attend college after graduation.