History Makers: Jeannette Erving-Cordor

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Valentine is honoring Jeannette Erving-Cordor as one of 2020’s ‘Richmond History Makers.’ Her contributions to fighting childhood obesity in the city have impacted the lives of many children and families.

“It’s what I’ve been called to do.”

Jeannette Erving-Cordor

As the Executive Director of The Faces of H.O.P.E., Cordor runs the program to help children and their families learn about proper exercise, healthy eating, and mental motivation. She, along with her staff, say they never give up on a child.

“All it takes is one change,” Cordor said. “We will not allow any child to walk through this door and fail. You can do this and you can be successful at it. That’s our motto. No matter what. You can do it and we won’t take anything less.”

Her initiative began in 2006 by going into the houses of families and teaching them lifestyle changes inside their homes, but once the program grew big enough she was able to expand into a larger facility to bring children in one building to work together with kids going through similar issues.

“We found a space that everybody can get to and they come together and be able to do the work together,” Cordor said.

Cordor says that 90% of the clients are medically referred to H.O.P.E. because their Primary Care physician has identified a medical concern such as pre-hypertension, pre-diabetes, diabetes, or high cholesterol. A concerned parent or guardian, however, may also refer a child to the program as well.

“Eat less, move more — it doesn’t work that way for every child,” Cordor said. “You can change. You can modify good food that still tastes good that the entire family can enjoy.”

She and her staff teach kids about the food that they put into their bodies, and they also collect and donate food to the families in the program. Cordor says that she wants to inspire a no-nonsense, ‘can-do’ attitude in every child that walks through the door.

“They understand that ‘I am worth it, I deserve to be healthy, I am deserving of having a good quality life.”

Jeannette Erving-Cordor

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