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Wilma Kirchhofer-Marbury

Youth Leadership for Global Health
Purpose Prize Fellow 2009

Kirchhofer works to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors among youth through health education that involves leadership training and community service to local health agencies.

As Georgia schools face cuts to physical and health education, Kirchhofer-Marbury is arming kids with the knowledge they need to lead healthy lives, including: health education, leadership training, service opportunities, and exposure to global health issues. Her organization, Youth Leadership for Global Health, or YLGH, encourages youth to become “peer educators” and positively influence others by sharing what they’ve learned.Kirchhofer-Marbury believes such a strategy has a ripple effect throughout the community and the world. As part of the program, youth compare and contrast health promotion in another culture through an organized trip abroad. “There is an inner gratification that comes when the light of understanding and the commitment to share that understanding comes from one of the youth in YLGH,” says Kirchhofer-Marbury, who started the organization in 2001 after retiring from The Coca-Cola Co., where she managed employee wellness programs. YLGH trains more than 150 youth annually and has expanded to include affiliate groups in New Jersey; Tennessee; Delaware; Johannesburg, South Africa; Salvador, Brazil; and Ghana, West Africa.