On Wednesday, March 18, the Voices for Healthy Kids Texas campaign team hosted a Youth Advocating for Heart event at the Texas Capitol to advocate on behalf of increased access to healthy foods.
“We’re trying to make it fair for other people who don’t have access to [grocery] stores to be able to have access … so they can live a long healthy life like I do,” said youth advocate Sky Travis, a fifth-grader.
More than 70 youth advocates, community members, school teachers and administrators, heart disease survivors, and American Heart Association volunteers came together from across the state to advocate for Texas Grocery Access Investment.
Eleven groups of advocates made their way to the Texas State Capitol, where they held about 65 meetings with legislators and staff. The youth advocates told compelling stories about limited grocery access in their neighborhoods or their friends’ neighborhoods. The timing of this event wasat a critical point in the campaign – one day before the related legislation was to be considered by the House Economic and Small Business Development Committee.
“Junk foods aren’t always okay to have, and I think that stores should have more healthy choices,” said Haeli Pradia, a sixth grade volunteer advocate.
The kids were honored to represent their schools and hometowns in the State Capitol. Teachers were also grateful for this opportunity for their students, most of whom were visiting Austin for the first time.
One volunteer, Sydne Marshall, is the supervisor of health and physical education teachers for Cy-Fair ISD. In this role, she works to help create the curriculum for students. Even with a strong curriculum focused on healthy eating and physical activity, she said, “It’s impossible for us to tell our students to pursue that outside the classroom if they are not able to have access to grocery stores.”