Getting Involved with the Center

Kansas City’s Center for Children’s Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition represents an extension of the committed collaboration in the area of pediatric obesity research between two neighboring institutions who serve the health needs of children across the bi-state region of Missouri and Kansas. The Center has several different engagement opportunities including: volunteer, undergraduate student, graduate student, post-doctoral, internships, and employment opportunities.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Center for Children’s Healthy Lifestyles & Nutrition relies on volunteer support for many of our programs. Below are descriptions of community opportunities to become involved with our work:

  • Kids’ Marathon. The Kids’ marathon is a 1.2 mile non-competitive fun run for runners Kindergarten through 8th grade. Runners are encouraged to “train” by tracking 25 miles on their own, finishing the last 1.2 miles on race day where they complete their own mini-marathon. This event is held each October and is sponsored by the Kansas City Sports Commission and Foundation in partnership with Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Our Weight Management Program staff serve as the race directors for this community event. Volunteers help with a variety of activities, including assembling packets for the race; logistics before, during, and after the event; monitoring the course; food or activities set up and clean up in the Fit-Tastic! Family Fun Zone; or other needs. If you are interested in volunteering for the Kids’ Marathon, you may do so through the KC Sports Commission Website: http://www.sportkc.org/marathon/register/kids-marathon/#kidsvolunteer
  • Promoting Health In Teens and Kids (PHIT Kids) Group Program. The PHIT Kids evening group is a 12-week program which provides education to help families and youth aged 9-18 with obesity to learn about, adopt, and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle through nutrition, physical activity, and behavioral changes. Volunteers assist with preparing food, cleaning the kitchen, and assisting children with games and activities. The PHIT Kids program receives support from the Junior League of Kansas City. Please contact Julie Vandal, RD, LD, lead education coordinator at 816-234-9231, if you are interested in volunteering with this program.
  • Healthy Hawks. Healthy Hawks is a group-based program that works with inner-city families from around Kansas City to teach them healthier lifestyles. Volunteers commit to participate for the full 12 weeks, and groups are typically held for 2 hours on Monday evenings in Wyandotte county. Volunteers help by working with the children, motivating parents, leading or participating in physical activity, and preparing materials and lessons for the groups. If you are interested in volunteering for the Healthy Hawks program, you may do so through their website: www.healthyhawks.kumc.edu.
  • Zoom to Health. Zoom to Health is a 6-week family based program that targets children ages 2-8 years who are overweight and their families. The entire family participates in eating a healthy meal together followed by fun games, nutrition lessons, and physical activities for the children and nutrition and parenting skills lessons for the parents. Volunteers assist with preparing food, cleaning the kitchen, and assisting children with games and activities. Zoom to Health receives volunteer support from the Junior League of Kansas City. Please contact Julie Vandal at 816-234-9231 for more details on this volunteer opportunity.