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How this Water Initiative Empowers Youth

Valentina Chee, a FoodCorp member, teaches a workshop with 50 youths on human anatomy in healthy beverages.

MANCOS, CO. - We began our lesson by asking the kids to raise their hand if they like to drink Kool-Aid, soda, Gatorade, or water. Then we asked the kids in attendance why water is important, and they responded, “It’s good for you. It keeps you hydrated. It keeps your teeth clean.”

The Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment (COPE) Program teaches young kids about the importance of drinking water for their health by producing hands-on lessons.

The food team has presented to over 500 kids at schools, summer functions, and public workshops. 

Camp Dibé Nitsaa is an annual event hosted by the Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program with Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, NM.

COPE's Store Marketing Intern, Renaldo Fowler preps fruits for the campers to add into their water bottles.

The campout with 50 kids took place at Mancos, Colorado where the COPE team presented about Healthy Beverages in a workshop.

FoodCorps representative, Valentina Chee taught the youth about the importance of drinking water in relation to their organs and body parts.

The kids followed along with Chee while drawing a brain, hair, veins, intestines and bones on their human figure. 

“Which organ filters water?” asked Janine Hood, COPE’s Store Outreach Coordinator. A couple of kids shouted, “Kidneys!”

One camper follows along with Chee while he draws body organs on his figure.

After human anatomy, the team proceeded to introduce "how to sugar count your beverages" which entailed doing math.

The campers learned about converting grams into sugar cubes and reading nutrition facts on the back of sugary beverages.

They then reflected on how many sugar cubes their family members may consume daily. At the end of a long lesson, we rewarded the youths by having them create fruit-infused water from one of COPE's healthy beverage recipes with their very own water bottles.

The Water Initiative begin in 2016 when COPE was awarded a grant by the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation to decrease the consumption of sugary sweetened beverages and increase water consumption.

Campers received a visual understanding of why drinking water benefits their health.


Here are some ways to increase your consumption of water:

  • Carry a reusable water bottle

  • Infuse fruit in your water for added flavor

  • Drink water when you wake up in the morning and during your meals

By Shine Salt


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