Healthy Living Ambassadors

Every year Teen Healthy Living Ambassadors are trained in nutrition, physical activity and food preparation skills. Teen Leaders work in the community to advocate for holistic health and mentor peers and younger youth at summer camps all across the state. If you are over the age of 13 and looking for a fun and healthy way to volunteer and even make some money, please contact Breanna Banks at and ask about how to become a Healthy Living Ambassador.

Healthy Living Ambassadors promote physical activity in the community. Yoga poses are a fun way for teens to show their peers how to increase activity levels. Pictured here are the Fitzgerald sisters leading some gentle stretches.
Jenna Anger performing a yoga pose

Delaware 4-H and Cooperative Extension Partners Host Family Fun Nights

Delaware 4-H Healthy Living, 4-H Afterschool, and Family and Consumer Sciences teamed up to sponsor three Family Fun Nights at Shue Medill School on the evenings of February 23, March 9, and April 19, 2018.  Reaching over 100 4-H youth from Shue Medill, Kirk Middle and Gauger Middle, and over 50 of their parents, families participated in two hours of healthy living learning and fun each evening.  Youth engaged in educational games such as Build a Plate, Hop Scotch, Fitness Dice, Stand Up-Sit Down, Chair Basketball, Disease Toss, Cigarette Bowling, Go Fish, Tobacco/Alcohol Ball, Alphabet Toss, Eat the Rainbow, and Yoga as well as crafts such as creating My Plate Bracelets, Healthy Living Coloring Sheets, making Trail Mix and even seeing displays that included Healthy Lung/Bad Lung, Juuling Information, Tar and Phlegm Jars, What’s in a Cigarette, and the Drug Prevention Wheel.

In addition to these activities,  youth danced to Disc Jockey provided music in the gym and hallways of the school.  Parents had the opportunity to meet in the cafeteria and experience the evidence based Botvin parent curriculum, learning techniques to better communicate with their children, and develop family rules and expectations around tough subjects such as tobacco, alcohol, drugs and internet use.  As an added feature, parents were treated to a food demonstration by Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition staff. In addition, at each of the family fun night events, a healthy spritzer alternative to soda and a healthy choice of dessert was created and served by a Cooperative Extension Volunteer Master Food Educator.

Youth and adult evaluations were completed at the end of each event. There was a 21% improvement in adults checking answer always for “I talk to my child about not using drugs.” 90% of youth report that they learned how to make healthy food choices during the first event, and 90% stated “I do not think I will use tobacco products or other harmful drugs in the future” as a result of the final event.

National Youth Summit on Healthy Living

Delaware 4-H was represented by a delegation of seven youth and three adults at the recent National 4-H Healthy Living Summit Feb 16-19, 2018 at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, MD.

While at the conference, these high school students developed the knowledge and skills to address today’s issues including nutrition education, physical fitness, wellness, and emotional well-being. National 4-H Council and National 4-H Conference Center partner with professionals in family consumer science and healthy living to host this Summit on Healthy Living. Students are trained to create action plans to implement in their communities and teach other youth about what they have learned. The Delaware teens began development of their project called “Build Your Ship” which will focus on Healthy Relationships.

Teens attending were Shaniya Lewis, Kennedy Upshur, Hope Mongare, Kyle Morris, Hannah O’Hara, Shannon O’Hara and Rachel Taylor. Chaperones were Breanna Banks -Healthy Living Coordinator, Gina Crist-Community Health Specialist and Betsy Morris- 4-H Extension Educator.

In addition, Shaniya Lewis was a youth delegate to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation meetings and a workshop presenter. She presented an engaging workshop on “Sleep Deprivation”.

The Delaware 4-H Foundation and the Walmart Foundation Grant sponsored these trips.

Registration Now Open: 2017 Youth-Adult Partnership Conference

Ride the Wave to Healthy Living

DATES: November 10-12, 2017
LOCATION: Atlantic Sands Hotel, Rehoboth Beach, DE

For more information:

Kent County! Step into Spring Health Challenge!

Kent County Delaware residents! Step into Spring!

A friendly competition that encourages individual and community health and wellness by maintaining or adopting healthy nutrition and physical activity habits for the spring season. Step into Spring! will begin February 1 and run through May 1, 2017.

How will teams earn points?
Teams will identify strategies to improve their physical activity and eating habits. Points are assigned to a variety of healthy eating and physical activity related activities. Each week, team members will complete personal logs to track their progress and points. At the end of the month, the team leader will turn in a log with his or her team’s average monthly points. One way points can be earned is by attending Cooperative Extension programs. See a list of programs on below. A team is two or more people working towards making a change.

Prizes and gift cards

What are the incentives?
Participants will earn monthly prizes and the sponsoring organizations can win a cash award. The first place organizational prize is $500.00 for the most points and second place is $250.00. Winning organizations must have at least 10 participants, compete for the full three months and sponsor two Cooperative Extension programs.

How will incentives be awarded?
Team leaders will collect monthly point logs from team members and incentives will be awarded individually for participation. Additional incentives will be awarded for the best team success story.

Who can be on my team?
Any resident of Kent County aged 18 and over who is interested in improving their health through better food choices and physical activity by working together as a team. Teams must have at least two members to participate in the challenge.

How do I sign up?
If you are interested in participating in the challenge or scheduling programs for your team contact Lucy Williams or call 730-4000.

Go to // for more information.
Funded through grant from:

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Maintain Don’t Gain! Challenge Programs

  • Mindful Eating – This session offers information on sensible eating for good health and general nutrition centered around MyPlate. Length: 1.5 hours
  • Portion Control: How to Indulge Without the Bulge – Portion control is the key to staying healthy. This session will identify
    strategies you can use to manage portions for better health. Length: 1 hour
  • Get Your Snack on Track – This session provides ideas for healthy snacking and ways to supplement your meals with those foods that will balance your diet. Length: 1 hour
  • Meal Time in Less Time – This workshop will help you develop strategies to offer healthful meals for your family in less time. Being busy is no excuse for poor nutrition. Length: 1.5 hours
  • Boning Up on Health – Preventing Osteoporosis – This program recognizes that what you eat as a youth impacts your health as you age. You will learn important strategies for keeping your bones strong no matter what your age. Length: 1.5 hoursUD logo
    Click here >>> for information on New Castle County program

Cooperative Extension hosts healthy recipe demos at farmers markets

1474981785299The University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program has been making its rounds to farmers markets throughout New Castle County, preparing ingredients and conducting demonstrations in order to raise public awareness about healthy eating.

The program is led by Maria Pippidis, New Castle County Extension director and a family and consumer sciences extension educator, who said that the demonstrations “promote easy and simple no-cook recipes that use seasonal ingredients and provide visitors with the chance to taste the recipes and maybe even try an ingredient they haven’t tried before.”

Overall, several volunteer UD dietetics students have visited 18 different markets throughout the county during the summer months, reaching 809 visitors and distributing 400 copies of healthy recipes.

Monica Marcial-Gutierrez, a UD alumnus who graduated in 2016 with a degree in dietetics and now works with Cooperative Extension, and Regina Santangelo, a volunteer for the demonstration who also graduated in 2016 with a degree in dietetics, led a demonstration in Rockwood Park, where they presented a corn and black bean salsa recipe.

“The whole point of doing these demonstrations is to show people what to do with in-season vegetables and also to encourage them to buy local produce. Our aim is also to show people how to make it, and just how easy it can be,” said Marcial-Gutierrez.

At Rockwood, the corn and black bean salsa was served with a side of chips for sampling and the ingredients were simple, fresh and easy to find.

One of the goals of Cooperative Extension is to educate the public on just how easy healthy eating can be. “Salsas like this are very popular, and you don’t have to be a cook in order to do it,” said Santangelo.

In some areas of Delaware, finding fresh food can be difficult, and all that may be available is fast food or processed food.

“I think it’s important for people to have access to fresh and healthy food. Some people don’t even know what to do with the food once they have the ingredients,” said Marcial-Gutierrez. “We get many questions from our visitors. For example, a visitor may ask, ‘Where do you get [the ingredients] and what do you do with it?’ I tell them, ‘You can get it right here, and here’s a nice recipe you can make with some of the ingredients.’”

“Cooperative Extension has a long history of helping local agricultural producers grow foods and be profitable, as well as providing nutrition education,” Pippidis said. “This project has helped us address both initiatives by linking local growers who are glad to have new clientele visit their booths for ingredients they just learned about from our farmers market food demonstration project.”

UD Cooperative Extension will hold demonstrations on Friday, Sept. 30, from 4-6 p.m., and Friday, Oct. 29, from 4-6 p.m., at the Southbridge Youth Farm Stands at the Neighborhood House in Wilmington.

Originally posted on UDaily

Yes We Can! Maintain Don’t Gain

Cooperative Extension Yes We Can Challenge Chili Cook Off event
Cooperative Extension Yes We Can Challenge Chili Cook Off event

Dancing divas renee's teamParticipants in the Yes We Can! in Kent County and Si Podemos! Challenges in New Castle County completed 8 months of competition aimed at healthier eating and becoming more active. Thanks to funding by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and working with UD’s Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition Lucy Williams and Carlos Dipres worked with the teams to engage them in Cooperative Extension programming to encourage them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  To end the 8-month challenge recently Carlos’ teams competed in a Chili Cook Off while Lucy’s teams competed in a Chopped Challenge.  After months of participation in the program participants shared the following anecdotes.

From participants in New Castle County

“I became more interested in finding healthy recipes that I could try home.  And I was trying them with my kids, which was good for them too, so they could learn how to eat healthy.”

“I didn’t used to walk; I walked, but when we were put to the test, I realized I wasn’t walking enough.  And then, every day I set goals for myself to walk more and more, and I’ve been achieving them.”

From participants in Kent County

“The overall quality of my life has improved for me because I’ve actually become more conscious and aware of what I’m consuming and what I’m doing and just doing it and for these past five, six months it’s actually helped me to discipline myself to stay steady with it…”

“The nutrition side made me more mindful to eat fruits and vegetables. So I changed the way that I grocery shopped and had more fruits and vegetables available in my fridge to just run home, grab a snack and it was always a fruit or raw veggie.”


The program will continue with new participants competing in a Yes We Can! Maintain Don’t Gain program through the end of 2016.  If you are interested in participating in the program contact Lucy Williams in Kent County or Carlos Dipres in New Castle County


What’s up? Delaware 4H Program Up for the Challenge!

The Delaware 4H Program has been actively reaching schools and youth programs across the state of Delaware to get Delaware youth healthy, pumped, and Up for the Challenge! Up for the Challenge, targeted toward youth in grades 4th-9th, has been taking off across elementary, middle, and high schools, to spread nutritional and fitness knowledge. The program, generally taught in a classroom setting, emphasizes the positive impact daily nutritional habits and exercise frequency can have on our lives. Each group of youth is taught a curriculum based on the MyPlate recommendations of the five food groups, healthy dietary choices, and the three types of exercise; strength, cardio, and flexibility. Throughout the courses the youth involved begin to feel empowered in making healthy nutrition and fitness decisions in their day to day lives. Educators lead nutritional lessons as well as fun group fitness that include a range of activities from stretching, flexibility, and mindfulness, to muscular strength building exercises. The curriculum strongly encourages the reflection of youth on their own habits. This generates a lot of feedback and conversation from the youth, making the lesson entertaining and interactive for both the instructor and participants!

So, why should you be Up for the Challenge?

Up for the Challenge is a rewarding and fun experience to give back to the youth in our community! This program allows for youth to really get involved by including activities that push youth to reflect and recall their own habits. It encourages youth sharing of ideas pertaining to personal nutrition and fitness experiences. Many activities included in the curriculum encourage children to think critically about their health choices and how to make better ones in the future. A curriculum is in place to guide you, but educators have fun putting their own unique spin on the educational activities and nutritional lessons throughout the curriculum! Educators also get to know their students over the brief courses, and feel rewarded after knowing they have made a positive impact in empowering youth to make healthy choices.

How can you get involved?

If you are interested in becoming part of the Up for the Challenge teaching team please contact Breanna Banks at We plan on holding future Train the Trainer sessions, dates TBD. Please inquire for more information.