LSU Wellness Ambassador Program to Offer Free Summer Program in “Hope Zones”


The LSU Wellness Ambassador Program (WAP), led by SLHRD Assistant Director Tracey Rizzuto, has been working with Glen Oaks High School students since 2014. Now, the program is expanding to encompass students community-wide, offering a free summer program for local students in “hope zone areas.”

WAP is looking for teens between the ages of 14 and 18 that live in what they call hope zones, which are defined as underserved neighborhoods that show potential and promise, such as Istrouma and Eden. Twenty teens have so far applied for the program, and Rizzuto hopes to have 40.

The organization focuses on holistic, or total, health. The program focuses on nutrition, physical fitness, and professional readiness. By integrating curriculums for those three values, Rizzuto hopes to help students develop skills needed for success in multiple areas.

“The goal is to help these students become multi-faceted,” Rizzuto said. “Instead of emphasizing one particular area, this program combines three skillsets that are crucial to future success.”

The summer program will include cooking and nutrition classes, physical exercise sessions, and classes discussing business and personal etiquette.

 The summer program will be held at the Martin Luther King Community Center from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. three times per week. Capital Middle School, located across the street from the center, will offer free lunch to teens participating in the program.

The Wellness Ambassador Program is part of the partnership between LSU and the Baton Rouge City-Parish Government to help fight and prevent crime in high-crime neighborhoods. The Baton Rouge Hope Zone initiative targets five areas with strategies responding to crime activity and socio-economic drivers of crime that have been developed and prioritized by community members and partners. Dr. Rizzuto’s work with Hope Zone BR-BCJI was key in identifying patterns of crime and high-crime neighborhoods, improving relationships between communities and law enforcement, and implementing long-lasting positive change in public safety and health.


The LSU School of Leadership & Human Resource Development (SLHRD) offers programs dedicated to producing world class practitioners, leaders, and instructors in Leadership and Human Resource Development.

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The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

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