Go Red for Women!

Ambassador program raises awareness, advocates for heart health

Written by Sara Garrison

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, claiming the lives of one in three. To inform the public about cardiovascular disease, encourage overall positive health practices and to promote leadership and advocacy efforts in students, the American Heart Association Kansas created the Go Red Ambassador Leadership Council as part of its Go Red for Women initiative.

The Go Red Ambassador Leadership Council is open to young women and men who are high school juniors and seniors. The program trains future community leaders in the areas of service leadership, volunteerism, community service and advocacy. The council just concluded its second year in Wichita and has 13 area ambassadors.

“80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented through education and lifestyle changes such as moving more, eating smart and managing blood pressure,” says Heather Smart, director of the Go Red for Women program in Kansas.

The Go Red Ambassador Leadership Council program begins in August and follows the school year, concluding in April. Ambassadors meet monthly with training on topics including cardiovascular health, leadership, resume writing and public speaking. Throughout the yearlong program, ambassadors are also asked to identify and help solve a health problem they see in the community including in their schools, churches or neighborhoods.

“We ask our ambassadors to complete a project while on the council. They must identify a health need, research that need and discover solutions to answer the problem,” explains Smart. “Past ambassador projects included vaping, dental health and even positivity and how it affects overall cardiovascular health.”

Ambassadors presented their projects at the Breakfast in Red celebrating American Heart Month in February.

“The Ambassador program has had such a positive effect on not only our ambassadors, but also our organization. When students hear from another peer it is way more powerful,” says Smart. “This program helps us as an organization with outreach efforts, while hearing first-hand the needs of our students and the health-related concerns they see with their peers.”

“The ambassador program is a great leadership opportunity for youth. We teach our ambassadors to be community leaders and advocates for overall positive health practices.” — Heather Smart, Go Red for Women director, Kansas

Students must apply to participate in the Go Red Ambassador Leadership Council. A fee is associated with the program. Scholarships are available to applicants based on financial need.

“The ambassador program is a great leadership opportunity for youth,” says Smart. “We teach our ambassadors to be community leaders and advocates for overall positive health practices.”

For more information about the Go Red Ambassador Leadership Council, including information about how to apply, visit heart.org/kansas

 
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