How they make a difference

HARLINGEN – The young ambassadors have been fanning out, making their presence known, their mission clear.

That mission? Eat healthy and exercise.

The five teenage health ambassadors, under the guidance of Heroes 4 Health, have spent the past few months attending health fairs such as Harlingen KidFit.

“Our kids had a table there,” said Guadalupe Castro, 4-H agent for Prairie View A&M University College of Agriculture and Human Sciences. Prairie View A&M created Heroes 4 Health. The university 4-H creates programs which involve youth called ambassadors.

“This is my first year on the job,” Castro said. “Right now, the ambassador program is new to the community. The teen volunteers dow community outreach under 4-H.”

Castro had just finished a three-day Free Nutrition Summer Camp at Harlingen School of Health Professions. The teen ambassadors took an eight-hour workshop in February to become certified as ambassadors. She has a similar program in Brownsville.

Both programs together cost $3,500, funded by Wal-Mart 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice.

Marco Martinez, one of the ambassadors, enjoyed giving a class on nutrition.

“I got a piece of paper and created sort of a colorful illustration,” said Marco, 15. “We projected on the wall to display. We had six lessons, all based on nutrition.”

Now that this event is concluded, what’s next?

“We’ll be meeting next month to talk about the following year, and to plan different opportunities for them to continue,” she said.

If Wal-Mart chooses not to fund the program, there are always other 4-H programs for Castro to open up. She’d like to start a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), program, with older ambassadors teaching youngsters about science and engineering.