Norlina teens Coleman Brothers and Alaysia Perry will represent the state of North Carolina next month at the National 4-H Healthy Habits Conference and National 4-H Healthy Living Summit in Maryland.
Warren County Cooperative Extension Director Crystal Smith said that participating in the events will train Brothers and Perry to teach younger youth about making healthy choices and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Youth then have a one-year obligation to reach 50 students in showing them how to stay healthy, she added.
Brothers, the son of Torrey Brothers and Latarshia Turner-Brothers, is a sophomore at Henderson Collegiate in the school’s technology program.
Perry, the daughter of Corie Crossin-Simmons, is an eighth-grader at Henderson Collegiate, where she serves as a teacher assistant after school.
Brothers became active with the 4-H Healthy Habits program about three years ago at a time when he wanted to improve his overall health, lose weight and get back into shape. He completed state training before participating in his first national 4-H conference about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Brothers received further training through the Warren County 4-H program before putting his knowledge to work during after school programs and 4-H summer camp.
Brothers worked with students at Northside K-8 School, and Mariam Boyd and South Warren elementary schools, and worked with a number of middle school-aged students to talk with them about healthy eating habits, eating correct portions and maintaining regular exercise.
He wanted to show the younger students that exercise is fun and can involve something as simple as playing basketball in the gym. Brothers helped students learn about activities appropriate for their age, and preparing healthy meals and snacks.
He hoped that he could serve as an example to younger boys and girls.
“I wanted to serve as an inspiration,” Brothers said. “Exercise is not hard. Do jumping jacks, go visit relatives and friends.”
In 2018, Brothers and fellow Warren County teen Ryan Baskerville participated in national training.
Perry joined the 4-H Healthy Habits program in February 2019 after her mother encouraged her to become active in 4-H in order to prepare her for the future.
That month, Perry and Brothers participated in state training in Ellerbe.
The Warren County duo was selected to participate in this year’s national events due to their prior experience with the healthy lifestyle programs, Coleman for his previous training at the national level and Perry for her level of involvement in 4-H over just a few months.
“With other 4-H programs, she was eager to participate and take the lead,” Smith said. “They both impressed state representatives during (state) training.”
Brothers and Perry will participate in the Healthy Habits Conference in Chevy Chase, Md., Feb. 12-13 to focus on teaching youth about nutrition, budgeting and cooking practices. The Healthy Living Summit will follow from Feb. 13-16 with an emphasis on nutrition education, physical fitness, wellness and emotional well-being.
Last year, Brothers flew for the first time to travel to the national events. Perry will experience her first fight next month in heading to the 2020 conference and summit. They will be accompanied by a North Carolina 4-H representative.
The Warren County teens are excited to meet 4-H’ers from across the United States and learn about their cultural backgrounds.
When they return, they will be armed with more knowledge about nutrition, exercise and other aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. They will continue their mission of teaching others this spring, showing children and youth that a healthy lifestyle is easier than they think and can be fun.