Ramona Spann | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Ramona Spann

Ramona Spann, 55, is on a mission to break the cycle of poor food choices and obesity in Mississippi by working from the ground up, starting with kids. She says she has experienced the consequences of growing up in a time when people put little emphasis on the importance of a balanced diet and exercise in her hometown of Corinth, Miss.

Spann's family health history motivated her to found the JC & Liz Youth Enrichment Transformation Center. Her parents, for whom she named the center, both died of aneurysms, and all of Spann's siblings suffer from hypertension. With three children and six grandchildren, Spann has plenty of reasons to advocate for wellness in our state.

With the notion that healthy children become healthy adults, Spann is doing her part to ensure more active lifestyles for her grandchildren and all the children of Jackson with what she calls the area's first wellness program specifically catered toward youth.

Located at 4731 N. State St., the YET Center's focus is teaching children ages 5 to 10 to make good food and exercise choices. YET offers courses on CPR, first aid, healthy meal preparation and vegetables gardening, as well as exercise classes such as dancing, boxing, judo, gymnastics, and more.

"The children are moving from the moment they walk through the door until the moment they leave," Spann said. "Our biggest goal is to see children come through here and transform into healthy adults. It's a community effort."

The YET Center will host a multi-dimensional eight-week summer camp beginning June 2. In the fall, an after-school program will add tutoring to YET's repertoire.

Spann graduated from Jackson State University with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1981 and is co-owner of Hour Tax Inc. in Jackson. Her husband, William Spann, works at Nissan of North America in Canton.

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