By Karen Stokes
On a warm, partly cloudy Friday afternoon, Milwaukee teens and Mayor Tom Barrett enjoyed the weather and fellowship while walking to promote healthy lifestyles in Milwaukee.
As part of Mayor Barrett’s Walk 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge, nearly 180 Milwaukee teens from the Student Youth Internship Program (SYIP) participated in a community walk downtown with the Mayor in coordination with their Healthy Living Day.
“The Mayor wants to get to know us as students, and he wants us to learn what he does as mayor of Milwaukee,” said Serenity Mason (17), a SYIP intern.
“We’re having fun out here,” said Anthony Little, (17).
Walk 100 Miles was created to encourage Milwaukee residents to stay active and fit by walking in the community.
According to the latest report from the Trust for America’s Health, Wisconsin ranks 22nd in the nation for obesity rates and has an obesity rate of approximately 30 percent.
Obesity can garner health issues such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and Type 2 Diabetes.
Regular exercise has benefits that can reduce risk for diseases associated with obesity. It can promote better sleep, help manage weight and it’s fun!
The SYIP is a component of Mayor Barrett’s Earn and Learn Program. It hires young people ages 16 to 19 to assist them in transitioning from youth to adulthood through job skills and work experience.
For eight weeks, local students will be working in various departments within the City of Milwaukee.
On the Earn and Learn webpage Mayor Barrett stated, “Earn and Learn keeps our teens in positive, structured activities and builds their economic wealth.”
“Four hundred teens were interviewed in a competitive process. We were looking at transcripts for interns with good attendance and grades,” said Carmelita Biami, program coordinator at SYIP.
Out of the 400 students interviewed, 180 were chosen.
Biami has been with the program for nine years and she is impressed with the progress of the youth.
“They give a positive impression of what our youth are really about besides what’s in the news and the negative things that people saw happen last week,” Biami said.
Since 2005, the Earn and Learn program has employed more than 22,000 teens.
“We have a moral obligation to provide hope and opportunity in the lives of our young people,” said Barrett about the Earn and Learn Program.