By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
In May, Molina Healthcare donated $1 million to support the National 4-H Healthy Living initiatives and on Tuesday the organizations solidified the partnership in Front Royal with their first event together in Virginia.
The 4-H Healthy Living programs are designed to address nutrition, physical fitness and other wellness issues among today's youth.
According to the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, 4-H youth are 56 percent more likely to spend more hours exercising.
On Tuesday, Molina employees came together at the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational Center with about 250 4-H'ers to learn about making healthy meal choices and the benefits of eating locally-sourced fruits and vegetables.
This compliments the center's effort to provide campers with food produced at local farms. Sausage, tomatoes and potatoes from area farms were served on Tuesday.
Nancy Redd, a former Miss Virginia and 4-H participant, traveled from her home in California to Front Royal for the event. Through a friend, she is also associated with Molina Healthcare and helped to bring the two organizations together.
"Unfortunately real food is more expensive than 'fake' food that is served at a lot of camps," Redd said. "But that's what these funds are for. They'll go directly to existing and future Healthy Living Programs."
Redd is an advocate for making healthy decisions, and knows that in order for kids to make good choices, they need educated on their options.
"A lot of these kids just don't have the knowledge on how to be healthy, and events like to today will teach them what it means to eat healthily and why it's important," she said.
Redd added that Molina Healthcare plans to expand the reach of their partnership by creating more programs and events on Healthy Living in the coming years.
"4-H is the perfect partner because of the influence it has on kids. It's all about molding young people who believe in their country and just want to make a difference" she said. "I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for 4-H."