For the third year in a row, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) is partnering with the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church to teach teens about The Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project and to help guide them through a project that focuses on healthy eating and/or active living in their churches or communities.
This year, eight churches were selected through a competitive application and review process to receive mini-grants and form church-based HYPE teams. Three of the teams are new grantees that will identify new projects, while five are returning teams that will build upon their existing grant work.
Last year, the shutdown that resulted from COVID-19 occurred less than two weeks after the HYPE teams were trained. As a result, they had to quickly pivot, figuring out how to connect virtually to discuss initial project plans and any changes needed based on safety guidelines for COVID-19. Then, they had to figure out how to implement their projects with closed churches and community facilities. On top of that, some teams even dealt with the direct impacts of COVID-19 within their congregations.
“This year is different,” says Trimease Carter, ESMMSC’s youth engagement manager. “We are more prepared to implement The HYPE Project during the pandemic and somewhat know what to expect. We’ve redesigned the curriculum and training for full virtual implementation.” The new round of HYPE teams will attend a virtual training in March to kick off the project. This opportunity is funded through a grant that ESMMSC received from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Division of Division of Injury and Substance Abuse Prevention. Through this partnership, HYPE teams will address healthy eating and active living while also incorporating safety and injury prevention components into their projects.