Media Contact

Elly Brtva
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PAHEF, ASHOKA Youth Venture, and MTV Latin America Announce Winning Active, Healthy Living Program in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON, DC (July 19, 2012) -The Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF), MTV Latin America, and ASHOKA Youth Venture Inc. have joined forces to mobilize Latin American youth to make a positive change in their communities by promoting active, healthy living through innovative programs to be implemented throughout the region. The newly created campaign, Active, Healthy Living in Latin America, aims to create awareness among teens about the benefits of incorporating healthy behaviors into their lifestyles. Today, they are announcing the selection of 30 original youth-venture programs to receive seed money and mentoring to launch their community-based projects.


"PAHEF congratulates the 30 selected programs,” said Debora B. Freitas López, PAHEF director of communications. “Their innovative approaches to addressing key healthcare issues in their communities will have a positive influence on the way people view diet and exercise, and ultimately on the health status of their local communities.”


One of the winning programs, Jeiel Meléndez, will be based in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and will use a novel approach to educate the local community about proper nutrition, regular exercise, self-esteem, and stress management. The program will recruit and train 11 youths to become health educators. The training will cover several health topics, such as how to establish a healthy diet and the importance of physical activity. Once trained, the young health educators will reach out to their communities by holding workshops and lectures as well as presentations at health fairs to transfer their knowledge to a variety of audiences, including children, adolescents, and the general public. Over time, the number of health educators will increase, thus reaching a progressively larger audience with each passing year.

“Through these activities, that will be acted out and personified, we will give life to the key elements of wholesome nutrition and a healthier lifestyle for those who do not practice active, healthy living,” said Ashlye Vallejo, project leader for Jeiel Meléndez.

Many of the projects aim to foster a sense of leadership in their participants by encouraging those that take part in the workshops, classes or other activities to pass on their knowledge to members of their families and local communities.

“We are inspired by the ingenuity of these young people to develop creative ways to motivate their communities to become more active and live healthier,” said Gretchen Zucker, Ashoka Youth Venture Inc. executive director. “They are also now part of a powerful network of social entrepreneurs expanding throughout Latin America.”


The 30 winning programs are:

  • Hands to the Earth (Manos a la Tierra) - Argentina
  • Project Sports-Health (Proyecto Depor-Salud) - Argentina
  • Healing Puppets (Títeres que Sanan) Argentina
  • With Sports and Art, I Will Grow and Take Part (Com Esporte e Arte, Eu Cresço e Faço Parte) - Brazil
  • Pull-Ups for the Neighborhood! (¡Barras pal Barrio!) - Colombia
  • Planting Seeds of Identity (Sembrando Semillas de Identidad) - Colombia
  • Children ABC (Niños ABC) - Ecuador
  • Chalchuapa Style - El Salvador
  • Youth for the Present (Jóvenes por el Presente) - El Salvador
  • Calderitas Sports Union (Unión Deportiva Calderitas) - El Salvador
  • Jumping - El Salvador
  • Publish-ideas (Publideas) - El Salvador
  • Let’s Get Active and Healthy Juggling (Activémonos y Sanémonos Malabareando) - México
  • Score a Goal on Violence (Métele un Gol a la Violencia) - México
  • Boys, Girls, and Youth Using Public Spaces (Niñas, Niños y Jóvenes Usando los Espacios Públicos) - México
  • Pinocchio: An Interactive Childhood Obesity Project for Children (Pinocho: Proyecto Interactivo de la Niñez sobre Obesidad Infantil) - Mexico
  • Your Prevention in Movement (Tu Prevención en Movimiento) - México
  • Your Value is Health (Tu Valor es Salud) - México
  • Cooking Knowledge (Cocisaber) - Nicaragua
  • Cultural Agenda for Indigenous Children for Nutritional Education (Agenda Cultural de la Niñez Indígena por la Educación Nutricional)- Panamá
  • Asunción, You Look Better on a Bike (Asunción, en Bici Te Ves Mejor ) - Paraguay
  • National Camping Trip for Young Agents of Change (Campamento Nacional de Jóvenes Agentes de Cambio) - Paraguay
  • The Value of Life (El Valor De La Vida) - Paraguay
  • Promotion of Hip Hop Culture (Promoción Cultura Hip Hop) - Paraguay
  • Health and Sports without Barriers (Salud y Deporte sin Barreras) - Paraguay
  • Thank You to Life (Gracias a la Vida) - Perú
  • Healthy Lunchboxes (Loncheras Saludables) - Perú
  • ONAN SHINAN - Perú
  • Jeiel Meléndez - Puerto Rico
  • One Try for Life (Un Try por la Vida) - Uruguay

The programs are expected to be implemented by the end of the summer. For more information about the projects, please click here: .

About PAHEF: The Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) is dedicated to improving health in the Americas through health promotion, education, and training. Founded in 1968, PAHEF is a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) public charity that works with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and other strategic partners in the Americas to mobilize resources and jointly address key health, education, and training priorities. With a deep knowledge of major health concerns and strong relationships with key stakeholders in the region, PAHEF builds successful partnerships and projects that advance health in the Americas. For more information, please visit:

About ASHOKA: Youth Venture was started by Ashoka, the oldest, largest and fastest growing associations of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, people with ideas that solve some of the world’s biggest, most difficult problems. Youth Venture is an international network of powerful young change makers. The network aims to help an entire generation of young people develop as leaders who will improve their communities now and throughout their lives.,,

Viacom International Media Networks The Americas, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), owns and operates the company's portfolio of entertainment brands, which include MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and their respective properties in Spanish speaking Latin America as well as Viacom Networks Brazil. Additionally, the portfolio includes Tr3s: MTV, Musica y Mas in the US, which targets a broad US Hispanic audience, and MTV Networks International's programming partnerships in Canada with Corus Entertainment for Nickelodeon and CTV Globe Media for MTV, Comedy Central and Vh1. The company's emerging multiplatform businesses include MTVNHD and Red Viacom in Latin America as well as VH1HD in Brazil. MTV Networks Latin America, US Hispanic and Canada also serve the growing number of digitally connected consumers via its websites:,,,,,,, and as well as through its broadband and community sites:,,, and

A Sample of Recent PAHEF Projects in the Region