Why she’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: She empowers youth, families and educators to make healthy lifestyle choices, and creates a culture of wellness in communities across Canada.
As a mother, professor and advocate for healthy living, Kate Storey understands the importance of walking the walk. Or, for that matter, dancing, cycling or running. Whether she’s biking to work, playing on the monkey bars, or hosting a walking meeting, Storey’s vibrant energy and passion for active, healthy living is evident in all she does.
“I have a three- and a six-year-old, and I’m a big kid myself,” she laughs. “I love working with youth because they have a playful energy and honesty about them. I think it’s unfortunate that we often forget how powerful and important their voices are as agents of change in their communities.”
Through her Settings-based Intervention Research through Changes in Lifestyles & Environments research program (or SIRCLE, for short), Storey promotes healthy living in youth through physical activity, fostering positive mental health and healthy eating habits. Since 2011, SIRCLE has empowered thousands of children to lead healthier lives by creating a culture of wellness.
“Our work is so much more than just telling kids to eat healthy and be active. We know that prevention is so important, and that we can fix a lot if we work in collaboration to engage the whole community,” she says.
Much of the work done by Storey and her team focuses on supporting vulnerable populations. One of the programs Storey leads involves Indigenous youth mentorship, which empowers Indigenous high school students to mentor their elementary school peers and develop healthy living programs.
“It’s heart work. Not hard, but definitely heart work,” she says. “Fostering resilience and empowerment and helping youth believe in themselves is powerful. And it’s truly rewarding work.”