SOSMentor's mission is to educate, motivate, and empower underserved Los Angeles youth to make healthy eating choices, live an active lifestyle, and become health advocates in their communities. By providing low-income youth with innovative nutrition and physical education and developing students’ leadership skills, SOSMentor seeks to build the next generation of healthy, productive members of society.
To reduce the rate of childhood obesity and improve the overall health and physical fitness of Los Angeles youth
To improve students' leadership and health advocacy skills
To provide mentoring and support for underserved students
Provide students with innovative nutrition education that inspires healthy eating habits
Provide students with fun, engaging physical education that instills the importance of regular physical activity
Train adult volunteers to mentor high school students in healthy eating habits and guide them toward their personal health goals
Train high school students to mentor younger children in healthy eating and physical activity
Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years and one in three children is now overweight or obese. Overweight or obese children are more likely to become overweight or obese adults, putting them at risk for a wide range of short- and long-term health problems. They are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and are at greater risk for type II diabetes, bone and joint problems, and social and psychological problems.¹ In Los Angeles County, the rate of childhood obesity is higher than both the national and state averages, with 41% of 5th, 7th, and 9th grade students considered overweight or obese.²
There are significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in childhood obesity. Between 1986 and 1998, overweight prevalence rose by more than 120% among African American and Hispanic children, compared to 50% among white children.³ Children from lower income households are more than twice as likely to be obese than children from higher income households.4 Considering the fact that 90% of LAUSD students are Hispanic or African American and 78% come from low-income households, there is a tremendous need for obesity-prevention programs in this district. SOSMentor seeks to reach these students who are most at-risk.
¹ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.
² UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, California Center for Public Healthy Advocacy, 2011.
³ Strauss RS, Pollack HA. Epidemic increase in childhood overweight. JAMA, 2001.
4 Singh GK, et al. Rising social inequalities in US childhood obesity, 2003-2007.
At SOSMentor, we are committed to providing our students with the tools and skills they need to live a healthy lifestyle, as well as
opportunities for growth, leadership, and success. Our strategies include:
Providing interactive nutrition and fitness education to underserved youth
Through a series of workshops on proper nutrition and physical fitness, children learn how to redefine their eating habits and incorporate fitness into their everyday lives. The tools our students learn will help them make changes both in school and beyond the classroom that will positively serve them for the rest of their lives.
Leveraging resources to build a healthier community
Partnering with community leaders, businesses, medical and education professionals, and after-school agencies, SOSMentor brings together various people working to improve the health of our community. Each of our programs is taught by a team of educators, a Registered Dietitian and a certified personal trainer. SOSMentor combines the expertise of various professionals to deliver a unique and comprehensive solution to the childhood obesity epidemic.
Empowering youth to become advocates for a healthy lifestyle
A key component of our program is leadership development, which we accomplish through "train the trainer" mentoring. We provide our students with the tools and encouragement to become community health advocates and role models for younger students. The high school students become mentors themselves, reinforcing the lessons they have learned while spreading positive messages throughout the community. By empowering high school students to become community leaders and advocates for healthy eating and increased physical activity, we have proven that “peer pressure” can be positive when teens serve as role models for younger children.