Healthy Living with Challenged Youth (HLCY) addresses increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, building community gardens, teaching nutrition, cooking, and food preservation activities with challenged teens. These activities infuse life skill development, helping teens transition from their current living status into adulthood.
Each HLCY site is unique, working with teens in alternative high schools or the juvenile justice system at three locations in southern Idaho. HLCY is offered in Burley, Cassia County; Pocatello, Bannock County and in St. Anthony, Fremont County.
- To develop skills necessary to make healthy food choices and consume more fruits and vegetables by using research-based curriculum and Myplate.gov.
- To increase knowledge about gardening by setting up a greenhouse and building a community garden.
- To develop and increase cooking skills through a variety of hands-on activities.
- To develop food preservation skills using harvested and purchased vegetable and fruits.
University of Idaho Extension faculty/staff teach classes on nutrition, cooking and food preparation. They work with the teens to set up or improved a greenhouse and gardening beds. Through gardening and food activities the teens are learning about consuming more fruits and vegetable, cooking and food preservation skills. Activities include eating whole grains and making pancakes, making freezer jam and salsa, using vegetables for protein, dehydrating vegetables, hand washing, label reading, kitchen safety, Rethink Your Drink, and understanding soil and water for gardening.
- 4-H works with the Bannock County Intensive Supervision Program (ISP). The ISP helps teens in the juvenile probation to
develop life skills such as nutrition, cooking and cleaning. Teens in the program are in middle school through high school. For many of these youth, ISP program is an alternative to being in State custody. For others it is a transition from State’s custody back into the community. The program is committed to providing the youth with an opportunity to develop the skills they will need to become productive members of our community.
- The primary goal of the Cassia Alternative Junior-Senior High School is to provide an
education that has a lasting, positive impact on the lives of high-risk students. Eighty-three percent of the students are from low income families, 54% percent are Latino, and 1% is Native American. Thirty-one students are court ordered to be at the school and 13 of the students are teen-parents.
- The 5-County Detention Center is a
residential rehabilitation facility for juvenile offenders in St. Anthony. Teens who attend the 5-County Detention Center range in ages 16 to 20. The length of stay averages 15 months to three years. The mission of this facility is to help juveniles learn new skills that will empower them to transition successfully back into their communities.
In 2010 the Extension Educator in Bannock County conducted an evaluation for a pilot project similar to HLCY. The evaluation survey showed that 96% of the youth participants indicate a gain in knowledge in cooking skills and basic nutrition. These youth scored an average of 2.4 out of 5 on nutrition pre-test and an average of 4.2 on the post-test. Teens in this program participate in a variety of lessons and activities teaching them to eat healthy, plan meals, plant gardens, and increase their overall health.
Healthy Living Resources
Healthy Living with Challenged Youth is sponsored by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation
. In spring 2012 nine grants were awarded focusing on reversing the obesity epidemic among children in Idaho. Lack of healthy eating and physical activity are leading causes of obesity. When children and adolescents have healthy eating and physical activity habits, it decreases their risk of becoming overweight. Many children eat foods that are high in fat, drink beverages that are high in sugar and do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Additionally, many children spend less time doing quality physical activities and spend too much time being sedentary. The Foundation wants to help reverse these problems. (BCIF, Accessed 8-21-12)