ACTIVE Life (AL): How did you learn about the Young Leaders for Healthy Change Program?
Kayla Mitchell (KM): Well, we went to Spicewood, TX to one of the Texas Tobacco Events where we were introduced to ACTIVE Life and Young Leaders. We were told about the Young Leaders Program and how to access the website and then one of our sponsors told us about the scholarship and the service project and we came together to brainstorm about ideas. When we signed up we were learning things, actually learning things. Some of the programs here, they’re just programs... this was one of the ones where you actually learn something. It was one I could stick with.
AL: What was your favorite part about the program?
KM: My favorite part was…well there were many. What I liked we that it was convenient - I’m in a lot of organizations and stuff so I can [work on the project] on my own time but there is still a deadline. So I can get on anytime during the week but there is still discipline.
AL: Do you feel like you're healthier now that you've participated in the program?
KM: Of course! Yes, the little tips that Young Leaders provided us, and the whole program... I feel like I’m more energized, I feel happier, and like I can do it, you know?
AL: Are you continuing to put into action some of the things you learned about healthy lifestyles?
KM: Yes, one of the things we’re going to do with my group is we’re going to teach the kids- they’re talking about making it a class. We’re going to actually teach it to other students. They are talking about making it a requirement to be in the ACE (Afterschool Centers on Education) program so that will be pretty fun.
AL: So are you going to do it again this semester?
KM: Of course, yes.
AL: Did you share some of what you learned with your family and friends outside of the program?
KM: Yes, one of the things (challenges) was about having a healthy breakfast. So, one day I was eating oatmeal for breakfast and my dad came and he saw me and said, “What are you eating?” And I said well I’m not going to get McDonald’s today I’m just going to eat oatmeal and he said, “Well let me try it out.” Now the whole family can’t get off the oatmeal!
AL: Would you reccommend this program to your friends and peers?
KM: Yes, and I still do.
AL: What do you want to do when you graduate high school?
KM: When I graduate high school, I have many plans. I want to first, go to Rice University and major in psychology and minor in sociology. After I get my bachelor’s degree I want to go to Harvard Law School.
AL: That's awesome, good for you! So, why do you think healthy should be the norm in America?
KM: Because, really and truly, I am tired of seeing people die over preventable diseases like diabetes and heart disease. I've had three family members die because of diabetes and heart disease. I got tired of it right then and there.