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Our Illinois 4-H Story

Youth inspired to live healthier lives, make healthier choices

University of Illinois Extension and the American Heart Association (AHA) teamed up to motivate children at the Joliet Park District Hartman Center to live healthier lives. Megan Walsh, U of I Extension youth educator, organized the interactive educational event, which was led by David Lee, an associate board member of the AHA and contributor to the Disque Foundation. Lee's aim was to inspire children to increase physical activity, improve eating habits, and get enough rest.

The seminar began with a powerful martial arts drill, which would prepare them to be attentive throughout the entire presentation. Lee then tied in the important role good nutrition plays in healthier lives. Lee concluded the presentation with information about healthy sleep patterns, a subject that has received less attention in other healthy living campaigns. The children were surprised to learn that sleep affects concentration, mood, energy levels and even hunger. Throughout the seminar, the children were captivated by the use of exercises which kept them on their feet and attentive. These children learned first-hand that physical activity increases concentration, self-esteem and social activity.


Judy Mae Bingman, University of Illinois Extension Marketing and Communications Manager

Judy uses powerful words and photography to tell the Extension story. She is a skilled communication strategist and storyteller with demonstrated success in building teams and creating strong organizational brand identities that deepen Extension’s impact among key audiences, build brand loyalty, strengthen employee talent, and expand public engagement. She is a frequent conference presenter at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference and helps Extension staff across the nation tell compelling stories.