Kids in Manchester Youth Development Program’s after school program attend a hip-hop class and learn the importance of physical activity thanks to help and guidance from the HOST team.


Showing kids how important it is to ‘just move’

“We are setting the groundwork for a life-time of healthy eating and exercise.”

As the program director at Manchester Youth Development Center (MYDC), a United Way partner agency, Jaharia Filmore sees the impact quality out-of-school programming has on kids. This fall, Jaharia decided to team up with United Way to help her kids even more.

“I learned about the Healthy Out-of-School Time program from United Way’s fitUnited, and I immediately wanted to get involved to help our kids be healthier and more active,” Jaharia explained.

The HOST program is a partnership between United Way’s fitUnited initiative, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and other local agencies. The initiative strives to teach children at after-school programs the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

With help and guidance from the HOST team, the kids at MYDC now participate in activities and programs that encourage healthy habits during their after school programming. “We’ve had yoga and hip-hop classes, and we play a game that involves practicing their spelling while exercising,” Jaharia explained.

Not only are the kids learning different ways to be active, they are taking part in healthy snack demonstrations. “HOST helped us partner with Common Threads who have shown the kids how to make easy, healthy snacks at home,” Jaharia said. “The kids started to recognize the difference between these healthy alternatives and cheetos or pizza. A lot of the kids even go home and show their siblings!”

Since beginning the HOST program at MYDC this fall, Jaharia has noticed a change in her students. She plans to continue implementing this programming and discussing the importance of living healthy. “We just have to be even more intentional about having these conversations with them. We’ve already seen a difference. I think we’ll continue to see the kids appreciate this more and more,” she said.

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