Chanel Boyd-Allen

Setting up children for success

“This program is boosting our kids’ self-confidence and setting them up for a healthy future.”

The Mustang Club at Pittsburgh Langley K-8 provides educational programming for children in grades 1-4. Program manager, Chanel Boyd-Allen, learned about Healthy Out-of-School Time (HOST) at a United Way summer conference workshop and was excited to get involved. “I wanted to add more holistic opportunities to help kids learn healthy habits and knew a partnership with United Way would be a great fit,” she shared.

HOST is a partnership between United Way’s fitUnited and UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to implement the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s national framework focused on improving healthy eating and physical activity in out-of-school environments. HOST team members comprised of United Way and Children’s Hospital staff provide one-on-one technical assistance and resources to HOST coordinators to help them plan and implement activities.

As a HOST site coordinator for the Mustang Club, Chanel is utilizing the program and its partnerships to help the kids achieve three goals: eat healthier foods like fruits and vegetables; learn more about good nutrition; and participate in physical activity every week.

Chanel, along with the rest of the Mustang Club team, plans fun activities throughout the week to help the kids stay excited and engaged. “United Way’s fitUnited initiative was very instrumental in helping us leverage other partnerships in order to carry out our vision,” Chanel explained.

Through a partnership with Common Threads, the children partake in hands-on cooking classes after school that teach nutrition education, and even focus on math and reading. Through a partnership with Zing Basket, Mustang Club kids are provided fresh produce on a weekly basis.

“The students are so excited,” she shared. “With an introduction to healthy options, they are making smarter decisions. And they’re learning that the simplest ingredients can make a healthy snack, even when families are on a budget.”

Through the HOST program and with support from Citiparks, Chanel is also introducing new and different physical activities to the students, including tennis, archery and outdoor obstacle courses.

“We want our youth to be as successful as possible. We know the program will have long-term health benefits for the children and the community,” she boasts.

To learn more about United Way’s fitUnited initiative, visit