The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri: women building better communities.
When the first group of families signed up for Healthy Hawks seven years ago, Dr. Ann Davis wasn’t sure how long the nutritional program would last.
“Program’s like this are not well funded. They only last a few years because grant funding runs out,” said Davis, director of Healthy Hawks and pediatrics professor at The University of Kansas Medical Center. “It’s organizations like the Junior League, our volunteers and donors that have given the program longevity.”
The childhood obesity rate has more than tripled over the past three decades, and statistics show nearly one in three children are obese. Since 2004, more than 200 children and their families have participated in Healthy Hawks learning about nutrition and exercise and improving their self-esteem.With children’s nutrition, fitness and obesity prevention being the signature program for The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, it’s a great fit to have Dr. Davis serve on the League’s community advisors.
“I admit I was naive about the league when approached to serve as a community advisor,” she said. “I am so thrilled to be working with the League. The volunteers are so committed and dedicated to Healthy Hawks. Our bike drive program this year was the biggest and best yet.”
Healthy Hawks also collects bikes and distributes them to children each spring.
At the fifth annual bike drive held in May 2012, 130 donated and refurbished bikes were donated. Davis and League volunteers helped kids pick out bikes and then taught them the rules of the road. Riders were also fitted with free bike helmets, donated by the Headstrong for Jake Foundation.
While there’s still a lot of work to be done to fight the obesity epidemic, Davis says everyone can help by making one positive change in their routine.
“Whether it’s your children’s school, church or your book club group – do something healthy. If it’s your turn for snacks, then bring something healthy. People who don’t think they can make a difference can have a strong voice and make a big impact.”
Fighting childhood obesity is not her only priority. Davis is the proud mother of sons Owen, 7, and Eli, 5. Her husband Stephen is a fire fighter with the Kansas City Fire Department.