Meeting Kids Where They Are
Meet Greg Smith, program manager at PSTV
25 years, 25 stories
In Greg Smith’s food science class at W.B. Saul High School, it was never just Wednesday. It was #WaterWednesday. Follow the hashtag on Instagram and you’ll see his students posing with water bottles, toasting with plastic cups of H2O, or hanging out at the school’s new hydration station. “Went out to eat with my buddies and guess what we had to drink? Water,” writes one smiling girl.
Scrolling through the pictures, it quickly becomes clear that #WaterWednesday is just one of the many ways Greg’s students participate in HYPE (Healthy You. Positive Energy.), The Food Trust’s youth leadership program. The message is in every image: Healthy can be cool.
“We promote it throughout the school,” says Greg, who often appeared in his students’ photos or added comments encouraging them to keep up the good work.
To spread the HYPE, the students recently hosted a healthy bake sale featuring black bean brownies, sweet potato muffins and, of course, water, infused with cucumber and mint. They also threw a dance party—putting the fun in physical activity. Some of the proceeds from these fundraisers will help pay for a class trip to Reading Terminal Market.
“HYPE engages my students in a way that expands on academics,” Greg says. “It made my classroom more exciting.”
Today, Greg works as a program manager for the student-run education channel PSTV, where he gets to combine his passions for media and youth leadership to help create a future that empowers and prioritizes young people.
Learn more about The Food Trust’s work with Get HYPE Philly!, a collective impact project that empowers young people to create healthier communities.