MAChO Annual Gala, May 12, 2014

MAChO is a student-run volunteer program based in the Community Service Office of Weill Cornell Medical College. Our diverse group of volunteers comes from all walks of life with a variety of personal and professional backgrounds ranging from elementary school teachers to students at
all stages of allied health training to young professionals who share a central vision of empowering our youth through the
promotion of healthy living.

About Us

MAChO is a student-run volunteer program based in the Community Service Office of Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC). What started as a WCMC student initiative has grown into a diverse group volunteers who come from all walks of life. Our volunteers bring a variety of personal and professional experiences to MAChO and include teachers, students in the fields of medicine, public health and social work as well as young professionals in the fields of media, finance and consulting. We are committed to empowering our youth through the promotion of healthy living. We collaborate with several mission-aligned and community-based organizations to implement an innovative and holistic program that empowers our youth to adopt healthy lifestyles early. Although our immediate focus is to empower our youth with practical tools to make healthier choices, we strive to instill values through personal development that can be applied to other endeavors in life.


MAChO believes in empowering youth with practical tools to take control of their health and their lives through proper nutrition, fitness, and personal development. We strongly believe that motivating youth to adopt healthy living at an early age is a key component in empowering them to realize their limitless potential.


MAChO aims to curb the incidence of preventable chronic diseases in our most affected communities by educating, motivating, and inspiring our youth to become change agents so that together we can build social and human capital.

At the core of the program is the concept of teamwork, which is integral to everything we do. Our teams work together to promote the message of healthy living through after-school programming for elementary and middle school kids, a mentoring program for kids ages 8 and up, and family-oriented and community based events.

Our Approach

The Problem

The United States is experiencing an obesity epidemic: 1 in 3 adults is obese, with nearly the same number being classified as overweight. Nearly 1 in 5 children are obese. Every year, thousands of children are newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes as a result of this epidemic. Type 2 Diabetes was previously seen primarily in adults. Rates of other chronic illnesses, including those with the highest incidence of mortality and morbidity in the US (heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer), continue to rise exponentially.

This situation is worse in underserved communities. In our first target communities in East and Central Harlem, a recent report by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found 4 in 10 children in Head Start programs and public elementary schools were overweight or obese. The root causes are complex and include biological, behavioral, psychosocial,and environmental factors. Sedentary lifestyles, high costs of healthy foods, lack of access to safe outdoor play areas are a few that exacerbate the epidemic in these communities. The prevalence of obesity and its associated chronic ailments is not only detrimental to the health of individuals and their communities, but also is a major driving factor in the rising cost of healthcare., There is an urgent need to address the root causes of these problems by improving health equity across the nation, which in turn will lead to improved health outcomes in our communities. With this in mind, we have developed our program to tackle these issues on a grassroots level.

Our Response

MAChO was born out of the need for students in the medical field to tackle this epidemic head on. The elevated risk of obesity, chronic diseases, and the health disparities within our target communities make programs such as MAChO a crucial element for reversing these trends. Our approach is to empower our youth with the knowledge and practical tools to take control of their health early in life as well as to begin to affect the health of their families and communities. We do this through the following channels.

After-School Program

Our after-school program works with students ages 8 to 13. In addition to teaching core concepts about the links between nutrition, fitness, anatomy and physiology, we also engage in exercises during each session and offer homework help to improve literacy and better adapt our lesson planning to our student participants.

Mentoring Program

Our mentoring program works with students ages 8 and up. We employ a multi-generational group mentoring model where our college and graduate student volunteers serve as mentors to high school students, who in turn serve as mentors to our middle and elementary school core group. Our teams work on group projects, participate in educational field trips, and use a variety of tools including self-reflection, arts and crafts, and public speaking to tackle personal development.

Family Engagement

Engaging the family in our discussions through workshops, a family-oriented curriculum that mirrors our youth curriculum, and focus groups that allow us to improve our family engagement strategies is a key component of our programming.

Community Engagement

We remain active within our target communities by taking part in health and community fairs, school assembly visits, and working with our community partners to promote the message of healthy living.

Tracking Impact

At MAChO we seek long-term health improvement through nutrition, fitness, and personal development designed to empower our participants to make healthier choices for themselves, their families, and their communities. We continually monitor and evaluate our progress using anthropometric measurements, knowledge, skills, and attitudes assessments and feedback.
Why the small h? Originally, the MAChO acronym stood for 'Movement Against Childhood Obesity.' The acronym has since been changed to 'Motivating Action through Community Health Outreach' to better reflect the work we do each day to educate, motivate and inspire our youth, families and communities. We remain every bit committed to tackling the childhood obesity epidemic, and thus opted to maintain the small h as reference to our roots.

Ways to Support

MAChO operates as a student-run organization under the umbrella of Weill Medical College of Cornell University, a 501-c-3 nonprofit institution. All donations will be tax deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law. There are several ways to support MAChO:


By Mail

Send us a check or money order made out to "Weill Cornell Medical College" (indicate MAChO in the memo section to direct funds to this program). All donations should be sent to the following address:

Mailing Address for Donations

Weill Cornell Medical College
Office of Institutional Advancement
1300 York Avenue, Box 314
New York, NY 10065
Phone: (646) 317-7300

Matching Gifts

If your company matches donations, please give us a call to discuss. Similarly, if you would like to provide a matching gift challenge, please contact us.


We also accept in-kind donations that fit with the mission of our organization.
Please contact us to discuss this option.

Any Level of Support can Help Make A Difference

  • $10 could provide supplies for 1 participant in the after-school program
  • $25 could provide supplies for 2 participants in the mentoring program
  • $50 could provide opportunities for volunteer team-building activities
  • $100 covers supplies for outreach events including health fairs and school visits
  • $250 could fund our educational field trips to museums, green markets, farms, etc.
  • $500 could provide supplies for family-oriented workshops and professional development
  • $1,000 could fund part of our research, outcomes, and presentation expenses
  • $2,500 could fund our annual family field trip
  • $5,000 could fund a summer camp
Setting SMART long-term goals helps participants in our mentor program envision the importance of healthy living in achieving their personal aspirations...

Contact Us

MAChO Program
445 E 69th Street, #208
New York, NY 10021
Email us at
for more information or to volunteer.
(347) 746-2461 or (212) 746-3390