Christina Cody

Christina Cody
Location: Gaffney, South Carolina Cohort Start Year: 2017 Project Topic: Education Population Served: Children and Families
Co-Chair, Eat Smart, Move More

My rural southeastern community of Cherokee County, South Carolina, faces chronic disease and childhood obesity trends that continue to plague our families, dangerously diminishing the quality of life for ethnically, socioeconomically, and geographically distributed groups. Our youth can be powerful forces in identifying community needs and in being agents of change. Students, schools, and partners can be collective impact champions in meeting those needs, ensuring that health for all is a priority.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVES: FIT2gether Youth-driven Initiative for a Culture of Health
Schools struggle to meet the needs of disengaged students, particularly when root causes include trauma, poverty, and toxic stress and when students lack voice. Significant racial and socioeconomic disparities exist in obesity, academic achievement, and educational attainment among our children, while Cherokee County posts a 21 percent disconnected youth rate. This strategic initiative focuses on institutionalizing FIT2gether, an organization created by my former students to spark an equity-focused awareness for children that evolved into a child-centered community movement. FIT2gether is a student-driven initiative designed to catalyze a Culture of Health through youth leadership, a Whole Child focus, and fearless collective action so our students are FIT2Learn, our staff is FIT2Serve, and our community is FIT2Prosper. With student-led teams at each school, young people identify barriers to wellbeing and design solutions to make healthier school environments and communities for all.

As a high school teacher and student wellness advocate, I believe youth empowerment and partnerships can create the Culture of Health all people deserve while also building tomorrow’s community leaders.

Click here to watch Christina’s Legacy Project video.