People to Know: Tasha Mac
As if from a scene in a dance-off flick, Tasha Mac and fellow dancers in the Vintage Quality crew took to the stage on July 18 for the 2012 Step It Up Championships, a New York City dance smackdown sponsored by Nike. The teams were judged in equal measure on their dance performances and their community outreach projects. At the end of the day, Tasha and her crew walked away with the crown.
The group's community service project of choice? Diabetes and obesity prevention, which they focused on through their work with the Sweet Enuff Movement. I started the project to reach kids living with, at risk for, or affected by diabetes and obesity. We use dance to teach about health at New York City schools and community organizations.
Tasha is one of our senior members—she's been dancing in school-based programs since she was 9—and was drawn to the idea because of her family history with diabetes. Her father has type 2 and has had three strokes related to his diabetes. "My father's diabetes inspired me to change my lifestyle," she says. "I asked myself, 'Do I want to struggle like he has? Do I want to risk my life due to a poor diet and junk food?' "
The answer was no. Tasha has a fierce determination to avoid type 2 diabetes, and she's taking steps to avoid the complications she's watched her father suffer. "I am eating better, working to cut out fast food," she says. "I eat three healthy meals per day and drink lots of water."
Judging from her dance performances, I'm certain Tasha will inspire other teens to get healthy as well.