SEATTLE, September 7, 2023— Three students in Washington state have been selected by the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, to serve as volunteer regional Youth Heart Ambassadors for the 2023-2024 school year. The following will work closely with the American Heart Association’s in-school programs, Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™ to actively and passionately champion other children to establish healthy habits for better mental and physical well-being:
- Ansh Kumar, 10, from Eastside Preparatory School in Kirkland. Ansh is in fifth grade and wants others to know the importance of having a healthy heart. His father survived a heart attack in 2008 and cardiac arrest in 2013 when Ansh was just eight months old. His father was at home at the time of his cardiac arrest and survived thanks in part to his wife calling 911 and giving CPR. The family lives in Sammamish.
- Jake Lee, 13, of Risdon Middle School in Renton. Jake has been passionate about fitness ever since his dad introduced him to jump roping and calisthenics. He now inspires others to be active by sharing tips and exercise videos. Jake is in eight grade and also loves to ride his bike, participate in the school wrestling team and American Heart Challenge.
- Maddy Reyes, 19, of Washington State University in Pullman. Maddy was born with a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot and had open heart surgery at four months old. Staying healthy is a priority for her and one of the ways she remains active is by being part of the college cheer team at WSU. Maddy grew up in Blaine and participated in the American Heart Association’s school program, formerly called Jump Rope for Heart, during her elementary school days. She has also volunteered for the Association as an advocate for legislative priorities that affect the cardiovascular health of Washingtonians.
The American Heart Association accepted nominations from young people who have been affected by heart disease or stroke either through a personal diagnosis, diagnosis of a loved one, or has made a personal lifestyle change, to serve in the Youth Heart Ambassador role.
The Youth Heart Ambassadors serve a one-year commitment as a volunteer of the American Heart Association assisting the organization to be a relentless force for healthier lives for all. The position gives youth a voice to encourage, advocate and underscore the need for to raise critical funding as they share the impact cardiovascular disease has had on their life.
“The stories and experiences of these young ambassadors are so inspiring and it’s exciting to see our local youth share their voice to help others live heart healthy,” said Shahriar Heidary, M.D., president of the Board for the American Heart Association, Puget Sound and cardiologist at Sea Mar Community Health Centers.
Rooted in physical activity, Kids Heart Challenge™ and American Heart Challenge™ are service-learning programs that teach students how to improve their overall health while doing good for the health of others. Through interactive curriculums and various online challenges, participating students get active and have fun while raising funds and awareness for congenital heart defects, nutrition security, CPR training, mental well-being and more. These collective efforts help further the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.
Schools interested in participating in either Kids Heart Challenge™ or American Heart Challenge™ receive expanded curriculum resources for both classrooms and in-home learning environments can register now for next school year. To learn more about our school programs please visit www.www.heart.org/getstarted. More information can be found online, heart.org/youthambassadors.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health, and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Instagram, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
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