4-H National Healthy Habits Training

February 11 – Prairie View A&M University’s Cooperative Extension Program (PVAMU-CEP) was among thirty-seven Land Grant Universities that participated in the 2018 National Healthy Habits training in Chevy Chase, Maryland. This national training held in November of last year, was conducted by the National 4-H Council and sponsored by the Walmart Foundation. PVAMU-CEP has received Healthy Habits grant funding for the past six years, totaling more than $306,000.  The funding and support enabled the creation of our Heroes 4-Health program, which is currently in approximately twelve counties. To date, Heroes 4-Health has directly reached approximately 30,000 youth and family members across the state of Texas. This program educates youth on healthy living practices in the areas of nutrition and physical activity and trains them to become ambassadors to teach their peers and community.

Carolyn Stanford and Shamranique McCauley were selected to attend as the PVAMU-CEP representatives. They are both Cass County 4-H Teen Ambassadors of the Heroes 4-Health – Junior Master Gardener Program.  During this training, the ambassadors learned about the Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project. The HYPE Project is a five-phase approach to youth empowerment. The purpose of the project is to build advocacy skills and motivate youth to address the problem of obesity. The youth were also able to network and share experiences with other youth ambassadors. Stanford and McCauley, members of the Champion 4-H Club and Booker T Washington 4-H Club respectively, are both officers at the club and county levels.

Stanford shared that the Healthy Habits Program was an educational, fun-filled and refreshing experience. She added that “attending this training taught me new activities to improve our local Heroes 4-Health program.  It was also helpful to learn about how other states implemented their programs and the wonderful opportunities for making lifetime friendships.” “This trip gave me a chance to visit the Washington DC area which is, probably, not something I would ever have had a chance to experience. I loved this experience because it gave me the opportunity to learn more about eating healthy and staying physically active, which is something that I can take back to my county and better my community. I also got to meet people from other states and learn about how they live as well as about their community,” McCauley said.

Adult chaperones Health Coordinator and Grant Principal Investigator, Dawn Burton and Cass County 4-H Agent, John Ferguson accompanied the Cass County Youth Ambassadors.  In Ferguson’s words, “The ideas, knowledge, and skills obtained throughout this training will enhance our existing interdisciplinary county-wide program.  The PVAMU Cass County 4-H program is currently conducting a school garden competition with the potential of reaching an additional 500 students, who would not normally be reached through the regular Healthy Habits educational series. This year, cooking and canning opportunities will be added to our program”.

For more information, please contact Dawn Burton and John Ferguson


This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 1890 Extension Formula Program projects under Section 1444.

Dawn Burton


Dawn Burton
Health Coordinator
(713) 797-7032



John Ferguson


John Ferguson
Cass County Extension Agent
(903) 256-5391