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Tips from a Navajo Youth Leader: Inspiring Others to Make Health a Priority

Combining both her love for her Navajo culture and an active lifestyle, former Alliance Youth Ambassador Danyel Marie Johnson serves as a healthy role model for the young and old in her community. To set an example, she practices her traditional dances and songs in addition to playing soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and running.

Danyel shares her three tips for inspiring others to make good health habits a top priority:

  1. Make it fun! Danyel helped get her friends excited about new salad options, encouraged her peers to move more during recess and helped plan field days to show that physical activity could be fun.
  2. Set an example wherever you are. Danyel didn’t stop at inspiring healthy changes at school. As the oldest of six girls, she has also helped her family make healthy changes at home by rewarding her sisters with stickers when they get enough minutes of physical activity and filling up their water bottles before school.
  3. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. When Danyel moved to a new town and started middle schools, she faced resistance from students and administrators. But she wasn’t discouraged; if anything, these challenges made her even more determined!

”In my culture children are seen as very wise people and what we say has value. But it seems that most programs here are focused on the older people rather than the younger generation. I think there needs to be an equal balance because we are supposed to be the future.” - Danyel Marie Johnson

Read Danyel’s Story

Celebrate Health in Native American Communities

Join us: We’re Just Getting Started!

It may be an uphill climb, but making healthy change is possible with the right support and guidance. This month, we will continue to recognize the efforts these schools have made to give the children in their communities the very best start in life—and we hope you’ll join us!

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