Good nutrition is one of the foundations of health, especially for young people. Formal methods of classroom education, however, are not always effective in changing unhealthy behaviors—especially when students are surrounded daily by industry messages and social norms that don’t support healthy eating habits. Instead of lecturing to youth about what they should and should not do, we at Heart Links believe that the only way to create change is to involve students in the issues that directly affect their lives.

The Heart Links Youth Advocates are students—like you—who want to expand the options for healthy eating in our schools. Started in 2005, The Heart Links Advocacy Project trains students in all aspects of public policy, advocacy, and nutrition, empowering them to make positive decisions in regards to food. As a result of this training, students can achieve their ends by petitioning school boards, conducting awareness campaigns, and working with the media. With the help of Heart Links staff, the students themselves will choose what issues to take on and plan their own, unique advocacy campaigns. The aim of this program is not only to assist students in learning about healthy nutrition and causing change in their communities, but to give them valuable tools that can be used in many areas of their lives.

We believe that students can be passionate, knowledgeable, and committed to making their voices heard on a variety of important topics, including health– and nutrition-related issues. Together, we can work to improve the health of young people—one school district at a time.

Want to learn more? For more information on how to start an advocacy group in your school, or if you have questions or comments, contact:

Amy Braksmajer, MPH