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Future leaders from high school explore healthy communities

April 2, 2010

If you saw kids cycling through downtown Birmingham or exploring Jones Valley Urban Farm on Thursday, April 1, it was not a case of April Fool. These future leaders, participants in Youth Leadership Forum, were learning about health and environmental issues in greater Birmingham and exploring for themselves the possibilities of healthy living, from the urban center to Shelby County.

Webb Lyons, Community Investment Manager for the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, assisted YLF planners by bringing together a panel of experts that included Tom Maxwell from the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, Shatomi Kerbawy from the UAB School of Public Health and Jose Fernandez from the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences to talk about what a healthy community looks like. He also took participants from area high schools on a bike ride (thank you, Cahaba Cycles) while others checked out healthy eating options in the kitchen at the YMCA Youth Center and urban farming at JVUF.

The day continued with hikes at Ruffner Mountain Nature Center and along the Cahaba River (thank you, Cahaba River Society) and plenty of discussion along the way. For everyone, it was a day of exploring physical space and appreciating the potential and the problems that face our community today.

We are depending on these young men and women and so many others to help us shape a future where active living and healthy choices are easier. Thanks to YLF for making this part of their program and to all the partners who made yesterday a success and who keep us moving forward to a brighter — and healthier — future for everyone.

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