The smile and excitement on the face of the volunteer recruiter, Charene Williams, said everything that was needed. The kids and staff of The H.T. Edwards Boys and Girls Club on Dearing Rd greeted the volunteers with hugs and smiles.
The H.T. Edwards Boys and Girls Club received little traffic from volunteers until the members of FAYO showed up. Williams and her staff are grateful to have the help of this organization.
FAYO members were enthused to be back in the community and doing what they love most. Ready to be put to use on anyway possible the members of FAYO were prepared to help out.
FAYO is a new organization on campus that has very “ambitious goals.” FAYO stands for “Fight Against Youth Obesity.” Founder Darius Sanford said his motivation behind creating the organization was after he struggled to find the passion and drive for any other organization on campus.
After a year of not participating in other organizations just to build his resume, Sanford decided to make a change. He said, “Working with kids keeps me driven.”
His ambitious nature drove him to speak to his family and friends about his new idea. After hearing the encouraging words of his family, he took his passion for his new idea to some of his mentors in the Athens-Clarke County School System. Once Sanford received their blessing, he took off on his new journey.
The process of forming FAYO took hours of hard work and labor. From sitting in on several information sessions to forming a constitution and bylaws, Sanford alongside his good friend Whitney Okie pushed through and stayed motivated. Finally after months of hard work on September 17, 2013 FAYO became an official on campus organization.
WHAT THEY DO?
FAYO’S mission statement is to get youth involved in combating obesity by promoting physical activity and healthy eating habits in a safe and fun environment. FAYO has a unique structure. The organization is divided into two different teams: the nutrition team and the fitness team.
Rafiq Oglesby had a lot to say about their fitness initiatives. The objective of the fitness team is to coordinate and participate activities that involve health and fitness. Participating is essential in FAYO. Oglesby and others on the fitness team lead by example.
Oglesby joined the organization for the same reason many others did. He wanted to make a difference in the community. Oglesby mentioned that his childhood was not picture perfect and felt that he could be an asset to FAYO.
The two teams have very important features in FAYO’s initiative. The Nutritional Team strives to find ways that motivates the youth to make healthy eating decisions. They attempt to do this in many ways. Kennicia Fortson, a founding member of the organization and member of the Nutritional Team said one of the ways is offering up challenges.
“We care about the kids’ health and want to get the parents involved”, Fortson said when asked about the challeneges. These challenges are weeklong assignments where the kids are sent home and most eat or drink a certain amount of fruit or water. As an incentive who ever comes back with the challenge complete with his or her parent’s signature gets a “prize”.
Fortson went on to say that she joined FAYO because she liked the mission statement. Being a college student, she wanted the parents of the community to know that the members of FAYO do care about the health of their kids because they are our future.
Khalil, a 10-year-old boy who attends the H.T. Edwards Boys and Girls Club said he enjoys his time with the members of FAYO.
“I’m mad when they don’t come.”
He said,” When asked why he gets mad Khalil said he’s not able to play his favorite game “circle, circle.”
Circle, Circle is played by dividing the students into two sets of circles, the inner circle being half the size of the outer circle. The circles run around in either clockwise or counter-clockwise. The circles must stay intact without breaking. When the instructor says SWITCH, the circles must quickly change.
Khalil was not only fond of the games played with the fitness team but also, began to eat more fruits while working with the nutritional team.
“I like pears and peaches,” he said when asked what was his favorite fruit.
Last year FAYO was nominated for the best new organization award on UGA’s campus. Unfortunately, they did not win but the loss only motivated them to do better. This year they have come back with their eyes on the prize and are full with great ideas.
FAYO has so much in store for the future. Just this year they have partnered with the University of Georgia’s Peer Nutrition Educators. The Peer Nutrition Educators are a combination of nutrition and dietetics students, and they are group working with FAYO to teach its mentors ways to better inform children on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
The Peer Nutrition Educators use the My Plate curriculum that is used on campus as a guideline for healthy eating. The My Plate curriculum is based upon the USDA standards of nutrition. Through using these accommodations FAYO hopes to reach the kids using their personal experiences with food.
Also, one of the major priorities of the group is to make FAYO long lasting. Darius said he wants to make FAYO a prevalent organization on UGA’s campus. Recruiting more members is their goal. The members of FAYO want college students to be aware of what is going on as far as health is concerned. In their efforts to bring attention to obesity, FAYO plans on hosting a viewing of the film “Fed Up”.
The screening of the film will be held on Jan. 29th at the Tate Theater. The film examines the growing epidemic of obesity in the United States and how the food industry plays an intrinsic role in promoting it. FAYO hopes that hosting events like this and others will draw attention to their mission and gain more members.
FAYO does not only want to fight obesity amongst the youth. The members of FAYO strive to lead by example and begin the fight against obesity from within.
In their first general body meeting of the year a healthy cooking class was introduced. FAYO has many things in store for this semester. If you are interested in becoming a member of FAYO or finding out more about what they are doing, you can follow them on their social media pages.
Facebook: UGA Fight Against Youth Obesity