Coordinator of the Month: Sinead Torres
Name: Sinead Torres
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College Attended / Major: UCLA, Psychology Major
HealthCorps School Placement/State/City: Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School, Brooklyn, NY
Fun Fact: I really love quotes. Whether I find them in books or articles, or hear them in everyday conversations, I always journal ones down that really speak to me in a small pocket book I like to carry around.
Layla Ronan: How did you become involved with HealthCorps?
Sinead Torres: During my last quarter at UCLA, I realized that a new chapter of my life was right around the corner. And like most students getting ready to graduate, I had a good idea of what I wanted my future to look like, but I wasn’t 100% sure where I was headed. All I knew for certain was that I wanted to start this new chapter of my life doing something meaningful and impactful with purpose. I came across HealthCorps on UCLA’s career web page, and immediately I felt this instantaneous connection. I remember sitting in the living room of my college apartment and saying to myself, “I want this. If I don’t give this a shot, I know I’m going to regret it.”
LR: What has been the highlight of your placement so far?
ST: It’s so hard for me to pin point one highlight because quite honestly there have been so many. I would have to say that out of all of them, a highlight that has impacted me the most has been experiencing the actual change that I am making in my school. This has been the most rewarding experience of my placement by far, and personally, I experience this the most when I teach. Whenever I see my kids so engaged and so absorbed in my lesson and in what I am teaching to the point where we can’t even get to our last planned activity because of the amount of questions they have and the discussions it leads to, that’s when it really hits me. It makes me realize the impact I am having and the difference that I am making. Regardless of the magnitude and what other people may think or say, to me, a positive difference is a positive difference. And when I catch myself in moments like these, I can’t help but think “Wow. I am one of the lucky ones.”
LR: Outside of the classroom, what are some of the activities that you are involved with?
ST: When I’m not teaching in the classroom, I host an after school Volleyball Club where my students brush up on their volleyball skills, practice their technique, and then put on their game face for a little friendly competition. It’s absolutely hilarious. I love seeing their competitive nature shine during these games! Additionally, I enjoy reaching out to my community, and right now I work very closely with East Flatbush Village, a community partner in my school and fellow non-profit organization, on several projects. Right now we work very closely together on overseeing the after school Peer Tutoring Program at Kurt Hahn. What I love most about this program in particular is that it builds student leaders. It allows them to not only demonstrate and exemplify leadership within their community, but it allows them to take initiative and full ownership of their work. Coupled with that, we are also in the process of collaborating to develop and facilitate health and wellness workshops at Meyer Levin Junior High School right next door to Kurt Hahn. I am so excited to branch out into other school communities, and to build strong student leaders to carry out this project.
LR: What do you plan to pursue after your service to HealthCorps is complete?
ST: Working for HealthCorps as a Coordinator has really solidified what I am currently passionate about, and at the same time, it has also awakened new passions I seriously never thought I had! I’ve realized that teaching is what gives me purpose, and with my love and heavy background of research, I plan to earn my teaching credentials and pursue dual Doctorate degrees in Public Health and Education after my service to HealthCorps.
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?
ST: Looking back, I remember feeling really nervous about stepping into a role not knowing what to expect, and feeling really intimated by my placement knowing that I had big shoes to fill. But as I found my place within my community and became accustomed to my school, I began to realize how important it was and still is, to propel myself outside of my comfort zone, and to become comfortable with challenging myself. I love the feeling of refusing to settle, and I love going to work knowing that each day is going to be different and a challenge in a good way. I actually have this quote hanging in my office that I think perfectly summarizes my answer to this question: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
We want to thank Sinead Torres for her exceptional work and congratulate her for being this month’s coordinator of the month.
(Sinead Torres and one of her students)