The Tallahassee Food Network is sponsoring the 13th annual Youth Symposium on Food and Hunger, The iGrow Senegal Project, organized by Dr. Qasimah Boston. This year’s youth symposium is composed of Florida A&M community psychology students, the youth from iGrow, the Harambee House, the youth of Senegal, and Tallahassee youth leaders. The Fall semester Community Psychology class allows a group of students to help plan for the event. Every week, the youth gather to research the area and learn more about the culture to prepare for a global exchange of ideas.
The goal is to expand the minds of the youth on the fundamental basis of food and hunger. As students learn, they are encouraged to innovate in all ventures, including business, farming, and technology, to improve the lives of everyone involved.
Life-long skills are taught to improve the quality of travel and promote global engagement. For example, youth are given Wallof and Mandingo lessons during meetings to get familiar with the language. Youths are guided to obtain a passport for future travel. The hidden rules and culture of the Senegalese are addressed to limit miscommunication. Packing tips, phone carriers, and medical instructions are required in preparation for travel. Personal experiences and stories are told of the land by Dr. Boston. As youth prepare to experience Senegal, lifelong skills are acquired in the process. As a result, the community is strengthened locally and globally.
Youth Symposium for Food and Hunger
Preparing Youth to Participate
Preparing Youth to Participate (PYP) is a project rooted in the Tallahassee Food Network and is in partnership with the Whole Picture of Health, a health and wellness initiative. The PYP project is a public health intervention that utilizes leadership development to engage the youth’s voices in activities to eliminate and prevent childhood obesity. The objectives of the PYP project are to improve knowledge, increase awareness of child health and wellness, and engage youth in actions that include peer-to-peer sharing of knowledge and the influence of supportive policies. This training program is distinct in that it consists of a community gardening youth leadership component designed to promote a strategy families can use to access healthy and quality food for their wellness.
Each group participated in training, including youth empowerment/leadership development, public speaking, and physical activity. They have begun to make community presentations, and we anticipate youth members of each group being instrumental in the future endeavors to prevent childhood obesity.
Tallahassee Youth for Change
The Tallahassee Youth for Change (TYC) is focused on analyzing Tallahassee’s food environment through the Photovoice project. This process engages community voices and allows people to identify, represent, and enhance their community. In the TYC project, the youth voice is engaged; participants are given digital cameras and empowered through conversation and education to act as child health and wellness promoters. The youth take photos of their environment, and they use the images to inspire conversations related to the issue of childhood obesity prevention and to envision strategies for change that include policy recommendations.
Featured in Tallahassee Woman Magazine are the founders of PYP & TYC; in consideration of the need to sustain efforts toward building youth leadership, Dr. P. Qasimah Bostond and Dr. Tonetta Y. Scott partnered to launch both the Tallahassee Youth for Change and Preparing Youth to Participate.