Scholar Spotlight: Young Scholar Guido Dominguez Connects with President Clinton to promote healthy living
Three years ago, Guido Dominguez was sitting in a crowd listening to former President Bill Clinton give a speech on healthy living. Ordinarily, a student Guido’s age—at the time he was the ripe age of ten—may have been more enchanted by the close proximity to a former president rather than the message he was sharing. But Guido isn’t ordinary. “In that speech, he told us one out of every three American youth is overweight or obese,” remembers Guido, now an eighth grader and Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholar from Miami Beach, Florida. “He said that if this current trend continues, my generation could be the first to die younger that our parents.”
This disquieting prospect jostled Guido to immediately join the fight against childhood obesity. After further research into the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an initiative spearheaded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association to create a system of healthy living, Guido discovered the Alliance’s Youth Advisory Board. For the past three years, Guido has served on the board, providing him a platform to promote the message of the Alliance’s five easy habits of healthy living, habits that Guido himself has implanted into his daily regiment:
- Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal
- Drink water instead of sugary beverages
- Be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day
- Reduce TV time
- Make sure to sleep at least 9 hours every night
On a national level, the Youth Advisory Board has enabled Guido to speak at a number of events to champion these simplistic yet effective principles. He was even featured in A Year of Being Well: Messages from Families on Living Healthier Lives, a book published by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.
But what Guido is really proud of is the healthy change he’s inspired in his home community. Through his service learning projects, requirements for all members of the Youth Advisory Board, Guido has been challenged to assess and meet a healthy living need in his home town. He’s done just that.
“Through my projects, I’ve implemented the EmpowerMe4Life curriculum at my former elementary school, started a Wellness Council at my current school, and hosted a field day where kids can spend time outside exercising while learning the positive impact of living healthier,” Guido explains proudly. All this before his 14th birthday.
While all his accomplishments are noteworthy, Guido narrows his scope even further to tout his proudest accomplishment—impacting his family.
“Looking back, I believe the largest impact I’ve been able to have is on my family,” admits Guido. “My father transitioned from a sedentary life and being overweight to training every day, and together we have run two half marathons. My brother is nine, and he has been running 5K’s since he was seven. And my mother starting to train for her 5K as well.”
In January, Guido was again invited to President Clinton’s Health Matters Conference, though no longer a spectator in the crowd. This time, Guido found himself on stage standing at the podium, nary a whisper of nerves in his movement. He was poised under the bright lights of the stage, ever mindful to scan the room as he talked. He glided through his speech, discussing the details of his involvement with the Youth Advisory Board. At one point, his comments were interrupted by applause from the crowd to praise him for his efforts. Showing his age for just a moment, Guido grinned sheepishly, hesitant to accept acclaim, but he quickly refocused and pressed on, ever the young professional. After a few minutes, Guido concluded his remarks and introduced the man of the hour, the man whom Guido credits as starting it all for him— President Bill Clinton.
See Guido’s full speech here!