Peer Mentors Visit Middle Schools to Teach Girls About Health

With the help of Kathi Jo Williams, the girls of Young Women on the Move are becoming leaders and advocates for their younger peers.

Our first day involved the girls signing pledges to live by the tenets of Creation Health for healthier lifestyles. Read more about that here.

Middle School girls sign pledges

At Coronado, Peer Mentor Belen assisted girls in monitoring their current blood pressures and BMIs. To do this, we first had professionals from KU Medical Center pay a visit to our Wednesday After School Program where they taught the high schoolers how to calculate these measurements.

Belen taking girls' blood pressure.

This program reaches out to several middle schools including Coronado, West, Central, Argentine, Rosedale, Northwest and Arrowhead. Kathi Jo is helping teach these girls the importance of nutritional literacy and helping them define achievable goals to grow into healthy adults.

Kathi Jo explaining the program


Check back in a few days for coverage on the following weeks events!

The Importance of Sunlight

The girls of Young Women on the Move took a trip to Wyandotte County Lake to spend time in the sun while teaching their peers and families about it’s positive effects on health. Check out the video below!




The Importance of Monitoring Sugar Intake

Sugar may be one of the most delicious ingredients in our food and Americans love their sugar. However, did you know that sugar is also one of the most dangerous and over-consumed ingredients in our diets?

One can of soda contains 10 tsps of sugar and the average American drinks 500 cans every year. That is 52 pounds of sugar consumed in soft drinks alone. Even more shocking when you consider men should consume no more than 9 tsps (37.5 grams) of sugar daily and women should consume no more than 6 tsps (25 grams).

Sugar Needed

Why is it so important to care? 

Many of us don’t even know just how terrible sugar is for our bodies. It can lead to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, a disease that is incredibly difficult and expensive to manage, tooth decay, and it’s even linked to heart disease! Young Women on the Move (YWOM) girls have been doing a lot of research on the subject. Venessa Caraveo found out that “An extra soft drink a day increases a child’s risk of becoming obese by about 60%.” The fact of the matter is, we need to train ourselves to look at those nutrition labels. It’s not just about the calorie content, but the sugar content as well! Even when we’re in a hurry or eating out, it is legally required that restaurants feature this information so you can make the healthy decisions for a healthier future!

An Experiment in Sugar Content

YWOM girls conducted an experiment in which they used sugar cubes to find out exactly how much sugar is in various foods and beverages. Look at these results!

Sugar1 sugar2 Sugar3 Sugar4 Sugar5


If one thing should be clear to you at this moment, it’s that we consume a lot more sugar than we even think we do. Yulissa Bañuelos wrote, “Much of this information came as a surprise to me. I think this would also come as a surprise to many other people.”

What Can We Do About It?

The fact of the matter is this:  in the United States, it’s very difficult to avoid over-consuming sugar. It’s in everything. It is common practice for fast food, frozen food, and beverage companies  to use it to bolster the flavor of their products. What you can do is know how much sugar you need a day and look at those nutrition labels. When you think you are reaching your limit, stop consuming.

Instead of drinking soda, drink water or tea! Instead of eating fast food, cook something fresh at home! And always keep your eyes on the portions. By doing this, you can prevent yourself and your family from suffering the lifelong hardships that come with diabetes and obesity. You’ll feel better too!

For more information on reading nutrition labels, go here. 

The Importance of Fitness – Meeting With Dr. Lisbon at Exhale Fitness

What a lovely day to get some exercise…

To teach the girls about fitness, we decided to take them to speak with an expert. Hey, we broke a sweat while doing it too!

Last Wednesday, our girls spoke with Dr. Lisbon at her newly established Exhale Fitness Studio where we learned a lot! Anna Gandara reflects on the experience saying, “I thought Exhale was a great experience and I enjoyed how she shared her life with us.”

MentorWorkoutCertainly one of the highlights for the girls was getting to work with martial arts expert, Bilal Furqa who led the girls in a rigorous 20 minute workout. Mackenzie remarked that, “Bilal was a great teacher and pushed us to do a great work out.”

While the experience was difficult, it helped demonstrate several important lessons about physical activity and good health. The experience very revealing to the girls. Jachai Hill said, “My Experience at Exhale was absolutely amazing. Even though I’m not a big fan of workouts, it still had a great impact on me. I started to realize that I am 100% out of shape and I didn’t think it was that bad. Being that I have a lot of health issues, the last thing I need is to be out of shape and making my problems worse. When we left it got me thinking that I needed to change and do something different because I’m not comfortable with myself and I know if I get back in shape it will help a lot on my self esteem. So Exhale wasn’t just a group visit but it was a great experience for me as a person.”


Dr. Lisbon discussed a wide range of topics such as the importance of proper breathing, the positive way that sunlight and walking affect the mind, exercise as a community and group, and even helped the girls understand what a food desert is.



NuMoves: Nutrition Literacy Campaign in Kansas City, Kansas

What Is NuMoves?

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, malnutrition in our city’s youth is a real problem that affects children now and later as adults. It’s a deep and complicated issue that needs to be addressed sensitively. The root causes point to ever-rising barriers to many in this land of plenty, poverty, lack of access to healthy foods, and low wages, to name a few.

In Kansas, 30.2% of children ages 10-17 are diagnosed as obese, leaving them at risk for early onset diabetes – a disability that will affect them their entire lives. This number spikes substantially in households of lower income. The result is a startling increase in adult-onset diabetes as early as 9 years of age, hypertension in teenagers, vitamin deficiencies, poor dental health, and a looming future for chronic disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 86% of the health care dollars in this country are for treatment of chronic disease – most of which is preventable.

So what can be done about it?

NuMoves is an initiative by the girls of Young Women on the Move to give voice to our youth to advocate and educate for healthier lifestyles among our city’s youth and families. We believe that, if given the chance, today’s youth will rise to the challenge to question and then breakthrough the barriers they face. The challenge is real! Today, for the first time in the history of our nation, our youth are facing a shorter lifespan than their parents. The girls of Young Women on the Move want to reverse this trend. They have begun a personal journey to live healthy and to empower their peers and families to do the same.

You’ve heard that it’s important to eat healthy, but why?
According to Feeding America, pregnant women who experience malnutrition and food insecurity are far more likely to experience birth complications, low birth weight in the infants, and can severely stunt the development process in the early years of life, which are among the most important years in long-term development.

But it doesn’t just stop there. Food insecurity increases likelihood to need hospitalization and experience chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma and anemia. These are expensive to treat and never go away. It makes it harder to focus in school, learn, participate in activities, and increases likelihood of behavioral problems.

Health is about more than food. It is mental, physical, and even spiritual.

Follow us on our amazing journey as we discover ourselves

Highlights From the First Annual Day of the Girl in Kansas City

The first annual International Day of the Girl in Kansas City, Kan. was a hit! After being officially declared the official Day of the Girl by Mayor Mark Holland, the girls received mentorship and testimony from powerful "Wonder Women". Middle school and high school members of Young Women on the Move organized the event, with the help of college students from Cottey College. They provided an active and important role in the lives of the 150+ other young women in attendance at the event. We hope to reach even more girls next year! Additionally, the girls were allowed to network with various higher education advisors. Continue reading for further descriptions of the event!
Participants from several walks of life – from CEOs to military – gave the girls phenomenal advice about making changes in their lives and their communities. We hope to educate more girls about the issues and obstacles they must overcome. We also taught them about the importance of following through in their education and how to participate in healthy relationships with boys. Before the event, we asked the girls what they hoped the event would accomplish and what they have been doing to participate.
Overall, we educated more than a hundred girls, started an important day in Kansas City, and provided them with a safe environment to ask important questions and participate. The event was an incredible success and we are so honored to be the organization hosting it. We look forward to an even better event next year!
If you would like to see more footage from the event, check out the playlist below for the full-length keynotes conducted at the event!
Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and social media so you can attend the event next year! For information regarding registration please refer to our informational page