Mentors and Mentees: Discover Better Health Together

(Dr. Clayton Lawrence, founder and CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on community wellness and inspiring others.)

LEAP Foundation DC believes in today’s generation. That’s why the nonprofit organization was created – to provide a stage, a voice and a support system for underserved, underprivileged and unseen youth who have the potential to become future leaders.

Dr. Clayton Lawrence, President and CEO, has provided mentorship to young men and women in the Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas for the past several years and has collaborated with nonprofits across the country and around the world that are on a similar mission. Each of those organizations has a simple goal in mind – better health and wellness for our young people.

You can join the movement to lead today’s teens to a path that encourages physical activity, healthy choices and a positive lifestyle; in fact, it’s actually quite simple. Here are a few ways you can have an impact that will be remembered well into the future.

Lead by example by exercising and eating healthy each day.

Make exercise enjoyable by discovering activities that he or she will look forward to.

Pack lunches, rather than buying out.

Serve water or milk with meals – stay away from sugary drinks like juice and soda.

Share the kitchen together to create healthy dishes.

Add vegetables to plates or dishes whenever possible.

Walk to school or work, if possible.

Encourage involvement in sports.

Hit the gym together.

Take a walk at your favorite time of day – morning or night.

Start or end the day with yoga that can both energize or relax the body and mind.

Participate in local fun runs, 5Ks or half marathons, with the intention of training for the full.

Shop at the market together for fresh produce and fruits.

Pick strawberries or blueberries together in the summer – great for the legs and a sweet treat.

Garden together – there is nothing like preparing homegrown food.

Hit the mall on the weekends for some window shopping and to sneak in a few laps.

Travel – visiting new places involves lots of walking!

Offer to help the neighbors with mowing, landscaping, weeding and gardening.

Volunteer at the local pet shelter together. They can use all the help they can get and it’s a great way to squeeze in some regular exercise.

Substitute vitamin-packed smoothies for milkshakes.

Join a local sports league together – Frisbee, softball/baseball, soccer.

Invest in kayaks and hit the local state park.

Utilize the physical activity options on gaming consoles, like the Wii and Wii U, and make it a competition.

Have open and honest conversations about the negative effects of alcohol and tobacco.

Accept every challenge that comes your way.