Chesterfield, VA (June 16, 2022) – On June 7, the Chesterfield County Public Schools’ School Board held one of its last remaining official meetings of the school year. As the board reviewed the past school year and laid out priorities for the next, two James River High School students joined the meeting to advocate for increased water access in Chesterfield schools to help students make drinking water a habit.
Haley Flores and Genesis Martinez attend James River High School and are members of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth’s (VFHY) statewide, youth-led initiative Y Street. Y Street members across Virginia promote water as the number one beverage of choice and drive positive policy changes through VFHY’s campaign Rev Your Bev. The Rev Your Bev campaign seeks to provide information and resources to Virginia’s schools to help get students excited about water and committed to healthy hydration.
Despite a busy end to their school year, Haley and Genesis both felt that making time to encourage their division to update their student wellness policy by placing an emphasis on water access was a priority. Genesis noted that healthy hydration is important to her because she participates in a variety of extracurricular activities like Debate Club and soccer, and drinking water “helps keep her mind running…throughout the entire day.” Haley noted specifically that she feels her peers don’t consume enough water throughout the day, and that adding additional “water fountains throughout the school…” could encourage students to “be more hydrated and healthy.” The ongoing efforts of Y Street members like Haley and Genesis both in their communities and across the state highlight a dedication to promoting healthy lifestyles and demonstrate the impact youth can have throughout Virginia.
Established in 1999 by the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth empowers Virginia’s youth to make healthy choices by reducing and preventing youth tobacco and nicotine use, substance use, and childhood obesity.
VFHY takes a comprehensive approach to prevention work that includes reaching about 50,000 children each year through classroom-based prevention programs in public schools, after-school programs, community centers, day cares and prevention programs across the state. VFHY’s award-winning marketing campaigns deliver prevention messaging to more than 500,000 children annually. In addition, VFHY’s research program provides scientific insight on methods to effectively reduce tobacco use. Since 2002, VFHY has funded 40 large research projects at universities throughout Virginia. For more information, visit www.vfhy.org.