UACES Facebook Ark Extension receives $55K boost from Walmart Foundation for healthy living initiatives
skip to main content

Ark Extension receives $55K boost from Walmart Foundation for healthy living initiatives

By The U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:
    • Arkansas Extension receives $55,000 Walmart Foundation grant to expand healthy living efforts
    • Grant helps pay for training, program expansion in Arkansas.
(565 words)
(Newsrooms: with art at: )
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service efforts to encourage physical activity and healthy eating choices among at-risk youth and their families has received a $55,000 boost from the Walmart Foundation.

“We’re pleased to have the continued support of the Walmart Foundation in our mission to help our neighbors in Arkansas enjoy a better quality of life by helping them make healthy life choices,” said Anne Sortor, associate extension director-Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H Youth Development for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “This kind of support enables us to reach more of our people with innovations such as the Arkansas-developed 4-H Yoga for Kids program.”

HEALTHY TRAINING - From left Ashley County Extension Staff Chair Iris Phifer, Desiree S., Phebe D., Lauren Copeland, extension program technician-health, for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (U of A System Division of Agriculture image)

The grant is part of a $2 million donation being made by the Walmart Foundation to the Walmart 4-H Youth Voice: Youth Choice program, which is now expanding from 15 to 26 states. The donation is part of the foundation’s support of the nationwide 4-H Healthy Living programs. Decisions on which states receive funding comes from the National 4-H Council.

This is the third year Arkansas has received grant money from this program, said project director Lisa Washburn, assistant professor-health for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“Through the 4-H Healthy Living Program, thousands of youth in states throughout the country will gain access to information and experiences designed to help them make positive nutrition choices and live a healthy life,” said Karrie Denniston, director of the Walmart Foundation. “The tools provided by 4-H will engage not only the participants and their families in healthy eating, but will also have an overall positive impact on the communities where they live.”

As part of this initiative, team of extension educators and 4-H Teen Leaders traveled to the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland, to receive training under the Walmart Youth Voice: Youth Choice grant.

Arkansas’ team consisted of Lauren Copeland, extension program technician-health; Iris Phifer, Ashley County extension staff chair for the Division of Agriculture; as well as Phebe D. and Desiree S., who are Ashley County 4-H Teen Leaders.

“The team learned strategies for boosting physical activity and nutrition education in the state and trained others through a 4-H Yoga for Kids Workshop,” Copeland said. “The 4-H Yoga for Kids program was developed in Arkansas and is being implemented in states across the country. The group also took part in a “hunger luncheon” and poverty simulation, learned about the Eat & Move-O-Matic App, and went on a night tour of Washington, D.C.

The hunger luncheon was a demonstration of what a meal might look like based socioeconomic class, with participants randomly assigned to a class.

“Upper class got to sit at nice tables with tablecloths, decorations, and nice plates, glasses and utensils, and they got to have chicken, rice, vegetables, and cookies for lunch,” Copeland said. “Middle class sat at smaller plain tables with paper plates and cups and plastic utensils; they each got to have a half cup each of of rice and beans for lunch.

“The lower class had to sit on the floor; we had no plates or cups and only had one plastic spoon to eat a half cup of rice, which had to be divided among 40-50 people,” she said. “Once the point was made, everyone got to go through the lunch line for a full meal.”

For more information on 4-H Healthy Living programs, contact your local county extension agent or visit

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

 # # #

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

Related Links