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Believe the HYPE: Teens Help Add Walking Trail to Park

MAY 25, 2013

WINNSBORO — Winnsboro teens have sprung into action to better their community, specifically Drawdy Park.

Area teens did research and legwork and determined a walking trail would be a great addition to the park as part of promoting healthy living in Fairfield County. The trail also would build community unity.

The REAL Teen Action group, made up of students from Fairfield Middle and Fairfield Central High School has received about 20 hours of HYPE training through the five phase approach where they were charged with brainstorming, researching, assessing, analyzing, advocating and implementing a project in their community that they wanted to change concerning healthy eating and active living.

After collaborating with Fairfield County Recreation Director Lori Schaeffer and collecting 700 surveys, the REAL Teen Action/HYPE Project Team presented their work to both local and statewide stakeholders at the 2013 HYPE Project Youth Summit which was held at S.C. State Farmers Market on May 18.

The proposal moved Fairfield County Councilwoman Mary Lynn Kinley to agree to include the walking trail and bike racks as part of her district recreation efforts with the new bond issuance funds.

A Community Kick Off will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. May 28 at Drawdy Park to celebrate the REAL Teen Action/HYPE Project Team efforts as well as the future addition of the walking trail and bike racks. There will be fun activities and food tasting. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the accomplishment of these young students.

The students, along with their advisors Cheryl Goodwin, Veronica Edmonds and Kennedy Robertson of Fairfield Behavioral Health Services along with parent volunteers Francine Goins and Marilyn Gaither, traveled to the Summit to meet with other HYPE teams from Pickens and Richland County to present their respective projects.

The REAL Teen Action/HYPE Project Team consists of 18 creative and empowered members who are Katelyn Banks, Kenuious Boyles, Jada Butler, Joyous Crosby, Zarretrious Evans, Rodney Gibson, Christian Gordon, Malik Harvey, Vernon Kennedy, Jr., Shardae Lamar, Sharmane Lamar, Charniece Manning, Cody McGauley, Jordan Samon, Monterrius Seabrook, Raven Tucker, Semaj Whitener and Eunique Wilson.

HYPE which is an acronym for “Healthy Young People Empowerment” was created to motivate and build the skills of youth to become a greater voice in their community. In May 2012, the “All Aboard For a Healthy Fairfield” theme was created from a new initiative from the Healthy South Carolina Initiative – Community Transformation Grant that was awarded to Fairfield Community Healthy Partners.

Specifically, Fairfield Behavioral Health Services in partnership with Eat Smart, Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) and Fairfield Community Healthy Partners was charged with leading the youth empowerment component titled Healthy Young People Empowerment Project (HYPE).

HYPE is currently being implemented as project under the REAL Teen Action group that was developed during the 2011-2012 school term.