Coordinator of the Month: Rachel Marler
Name: Rachel Marler
Hometown: Columbia, Missouri
College Attended / Major:
Truman State University
Major: Health Science
HealthCorps School Placement: Del Norte High School
Fun Fact: Since moving to Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands, my favorite activity has been hiking the county’s enchanting redwood trails.
Layla Ronan: How did you become involved with HealthCorps?
Rachel Marler: A friend told me about her experience with HealthCorps during my senior year of college. Her glowing recommendation excited me at the possibility of a meaningful and health-oriented career. I typed “health corps” in Google and came across our website and applied for the Coordinator position at Del Norte High School. Later I was amused to find my friend had worked for a different organization under their specific “health corps” program. At the time I submitted my application with HealthCorps, there were other Coordinator positions open, but I chose Del Norte because I was attracted to the rural environment.
LR: What has been the highlight of your placement so far?
RM: Del Norte and Adjacent Tribal Lands (DNATL) is unlike all other HealthCorps placements because it is the most rural high school in our organization. While DNATL struggles with issues commonly facing rural communities, such as poverty and limited healthcare options, the county makes up for its lack of resources through relationships. The highlight of my placement in DNATL has been my partnerships with commuinty health organizations and local youth team through the Building Healthy Communities initiative. From the Community Food Council and SNAP-Ed programs donating equipment and food to support our nutrition lab lessons, to the 20 organizations who organized interactive booths for last year’s Health Fair, I am forever grateful for our local people and school staff who work tirelessly to serve the county’s youth.
LR: Outside of the classroom, what are some of the activities that you are involved with?
RM: Outside of the classroom, I facilitate Health Heroes, an after school club. Whether we’re cooking a delicious meal or practicing yoga, every club meeting is a treat. Although I’m still in training, I hope to become an advocate for foster youth through the CASA program in 2016. When I’m not at school, I enjoy spending time outdoors in the variety of settings DNATL has to offer, such as the pristine Smith River, Pacific coast, and Redwood forests. The natural resources in Del Norte County really are a treasure, and after living here for less than a year, I see why tourists flock from all over the world. After growing up in the Midwest, I was excited to try surfing, although so far I’ve only been successful sitting on the board watching the waves roll in.
LR: What do you plan to pursue after your service to HealthCorps is complete?
RM: After my service to HealthCorps, I plan to continue working in public health. I’m considering many options, from earning a teaching credential for health education, to pursuing worksite health or the nonprofit sector. I’m interested in earning a Master’s, but find it difficult to choose a specific program. As long as I’m working on health promotion and the prevention side, I’ll be happy.
LR: What is one thing you have learned from your placement that you will be able to carry with you as you move forward in life?
RM:I think the biggest lesson learned from my placement in DNATL is to always be the best version of yourself. Living in a rural community, people’s opinions of you and your work ethic matter and determine the program’s success and sustainability. Like anyone else, I’m human and have challenging days, but living and working in DNATL has taught me the importance of showing compassion and positivity to everyone, because we are all connected. My mentor teacher, Joanie Lindenmeyer, is such an example of this. She always shines the light, and students notice and ask me where she finds her happiness. She has been the biggest support, and has taught me how to be joyful and celebrate every moment.
We want to thank Rachel Marler for her exceptional work and congratulate her for being this month’s coordinator of the month.