For Thirst Water First

For Thirst Water First is a youth-centered campaign to increase awareness about the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages and promote water consumption. Participants in the Ecology Center’s youth program are empowered to lead peer health education, community outreach in the schools and community, and create counter-messages to predatory marketing. For Thirst Water First gives teens and young adults the tools needed to make healthy food choices.

Outreach has focused at Berkeley High School, and at community events. Activities include:

  • Water bottle giveaway at BHS’s Freshmen Orientation.
  • Bigger Picture assemblies that showcased spoken word artists, and brought 20 foot tall “Canzilla” to campus.
  • Youth promote water consumption and conduct pre-diabetes screenings at dozens of events each year. They provide water infused with cucumbers and strawberries, and lead the interactive activity, “How Much Sugar Is In Your Drink?” which shows how much sugar is in popular beverages, and defines 60+ other ingredients such as ‘corn syrup’ and ‘dextrose.’
  • YEA scholars shot and produced a mission statement video, which has been viewed thousands of times on social media:

Funding for this project comes from Berkeley’s soda tax.