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Youth Advisory Board Sets Direction for Youth Engagement

By: HealthMPowers

(NORCROSS, GA)— HealthMPowers announced today members of the first class of the HealthMPowers Youth Advisory Board (YAB). Rohan Rajpurohit (18), Ayshiah Frazier (15), Chace Cleveland (18), Mary Rozier (17), Paige Parkerson (15), and Pratima Yellayi (15), will lend their expertise to program implementation and improvements, and inform operations to enhance services for children and youth.

“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 Jennifer L. 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.

HealthMPowers Youth Advisory Board mission statement: To elevate youth voices in meaningful ways that promote healthier lifestyles and habits for children and teens.

“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 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. 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.

 

2022 HealthMPowers Youth Advisory Board

 

Rohan Rajpurohit is the first youth member of the Board of Directors and brings enthusiasm for elevating and integrating youth voices. Rohan is a senior at Lambert High School in Forsyth County, serving as Vice President of his school’s humanitarian healthcare club (Doctors Without Borders, a branch of the UGA Friends of MSF chapter), and participates in several extracurricular activities. He especially enjoys supporting community outreach programs that promote health access, advocacy, and well-being. This includes his service with Walk with a Doc at Emory’s Urban Health Initiative and the Youth Advisory Council at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Rohan built a deeper awareness and appreciation for public health while participating in the CDC Museum’s Public Health Academy summer course and subsequent internship. His interests surround how the intersection of health research, business, and technology converge for the betterment of communities. Additionally, Rohan enjoys exercising, composing music, singing, and reading.

 

Ayshiah is funny and full of life. Her determination to help better those around her makes her a stronger person. Currently, Ayshiah is on the Raiders team at Haralson County High School, volunteers with 4-H, and is the Staff Sergeant of her company in JROTC. In her downtown, Ayshiah loves sharing her contagious personality, singing, and writing. She also enjoys reading and taking walks to relax when stress becomes too much.

 

Chace Cleveland is a community-minded scholar with strong family ties. Some of his community contributions include founding the creation of his middle school’s outdoor study and paint patio, founding his high school’s first and second annual can food drive to feed the Conyers community, and founding his high school’s first student-led newsletter – The Nutty Patriot. A self-proclaimed sociable loner, he plans to attend the University of Georgia Athens in hopes to build lifelong friendships. Some of his interests include blackwork tattoos (though he’s not likely to get one), exploring different culinary cuisines, and spending time with family. In the future, Chace aspires to help people gain a deeper understanding of financial literacy with a focus on helping minority communities live a better life.

 

Mary Rozier is a junior and student-athlete at Eagles Landing High School in McDonough, GA. She is an honors student with a current 4.43 grade-point average. She has worked hard to maintain all A’s, and has never missed a day since kindergarten. Moreover, she aspires to become a biomedical engineer and pursue a doctorate in public health so she can positively impact the health and well-being of others. Mary competed in the 2022 National Junior Olympics in Sacramento California and became a 3x All-American in Track & Field. Also, Mary is proud to have been named to the Henry County All-County swim team for the last two consecutive years.

She is humbled to have been elected by her peers every school year since the sixth grade to lead and serve as class president. Serving is her superpower, as such, she was awarded the National Presidential Gold Award for volunteering more than 100 hours of community service in multiple calendar years. Mary is a recent graduate of the 2022 Youth Leadership Henry Program and currently serves as a Henry County District 4 Junior Commissioner. She formerly served as the National Leadership Representative for the Junior Beta Club. Mary is honored to be a part of the HealthMPowers Youth Advisory Board and can’t wait for the great work to be done in the future!

 

Paige Parkerson, is a sophomore at Thomas County Central High School.  She has been a member of the varsity soccer team for two years and has been a part of the soccer program at her school since she was in sixth grade. As a freshman, Paige played volleyball and ran cross country.  Paige is a member of the Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America, and serves as the vice president of the sophomore class.  Paige enjoys volunteering at Shop with a Yellow Jacket, Sweet Grass Dairy Farm Camp, and Vacation Bible School.  She is a member of Thomasville First United Methodist church.  Paige plans to attend college after graduation.

 

Pratima Yellayi is a member of the varsity cross country team, track team, and a senior dancer. She is a part of the Girls Empowering Movement, otherwise known as GEM, as well as the Pebble Tossers Teen Leadership program. She takes pride in her ability to accomplish anything she puts her mind to. Her hobbies include painting, gym, and listening to music. Music is a very big part of her life.



HealthMPowers

HealthMPowers is a leader in designing and implementing evidence-based programs to encourage children, schools, communities and families all across Georgia to eat healthy and be physically active. Using an equity-centered approach, we believe that no child should go hungry, no child can thrive on food with little nutritional value and no child should face a day without an opportunity to move and be active.