Emma Buchanan, 18, of Glade Spring, Va., a senior at Patrick Henry High School, has been a student ambassador for a national in-school nutrition and physical activity program since 2009, and in conjunction with that role, won a $4,000 grant to implement a health and wellness class for her community. Starting in seventh grade, Emma began working with the National Dairy Association and National Football League's "Fuel Up to Play 60" program, encouraging student involvement in her school and speaking at more than 30 national events.
A few years later, the program's sponsors invited student leaders to propose ideas for new health initiatives in their communities. Emma immediately started thinking about the needs in her area. "The people of southwest Virginia have been taught since birth that food must be deep-fried and plates must be cleaned," said Emma. "I decided the best way to shape my program was in the form of a health and wellness community-wide class." Her proposal won a $4,000 grant and a chance to get face-to-face advice from Warren Buffett. She used the money to host free monthly "family health nights" featuring lessons on healthy living, guest speakers, meals prepared by a local chef, and health-related prizes. "I was able to teach over 100 community members how a healthy life can be accomplished at a small price," said Emma.