Meeting Kids Where They Are

Meet Greg Smith, program manager at PSTV

The Food Trust's 25th anniversary spotlight, picture of 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.

25th anniversary logo color

This interview is part of our weekly "25 Years, 25 Stories" series, spotlighting some of The Food Trust's diverse voices in healthy food access. If you would like to support our work, click here to make a tax-deductible donation today.

Stay Informed!

Sign up for our newsletter, The Healthy Food Access Times, and stay up-to-date on the latest policy developments, funding opportunities, best practices and innovative strategies.