Coordinator of the Month: Jaclyn Miller | June 2020
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Name: Jaclyn Miller
Hometown: Quinton, OK
College Attended / Graduating Class / Major: Health and Exercise Science BS
HealthCorps School Placement / City / State: Purcell, OK
Fun Fact: One of my goals is to visit all 50 states before I am 50 years old.
Question #1: Why did you choose HealthCorps?
I chose HealthCorps because I believed in their mission! I wanted to be a part of making the lives of students better and to create meaningful change. I am from Oklahoma, so I loved the fact that I would have an opportunity to make a change in the state that I grew up in.
Question #2: What role do you play in your school(s) beyond “HealthCorps Coordinator”?
I guess you could just call me the “Health Person” at my school because one of my main goals is to expose my students and staff to new ways to be healthy that they may never had heard of or tried before. Some of the roles I play are simple such as the person who puts the anti-vaping poster on the wall and others are much bigger! Sometimes my role is to be the person who finds the students who are struggling and to reach out to them. Sometimes I bring different fruits and veggies for my students to try and other times we meditate or do mini workouts in class. My specific role changes daily, but overall, I am just trying to show them how to lead healthier lives.
Question #3: What have you learned during your placement so far? What has surprised you most?
I learn something new almost everyday! I learn more about the issues that my students face. I learn more about my community as a whole. I learn about how policy, culture, and education play a major role in the health of my students. The most surprising thing that I have learned so far is how many students just want to be heard. Many of them have questions that they are too afraid to ask and they all have unique stories and experiences. By giving a student a safe place to talk and express themselves you can make a huge difference in their lives.
Question #4: What advice would you give to teachers, parents, communities, etc. who are looking to create more programming focused on healthy living for their students?
Have a plan for your programming, but don’t be too rigid in your plans. Sometimes things will take a turn away from what you originally intended, but the students that you are working with should feel like they are included in the decision-making process and the pace at which things happen. By asking questions and letting constructive conversations flow we can find solutions to problems that our students are facing. Students need to feel empowered and they need to feel like they are valued. Classroom discussions that happen spontaneously are often times the places where students learn the most and many times the teachers learn from the students. Students are creative and they come up with brilliant ideas! We should see this as an asset when making plans for health promotion in our communities. When students are allowed to take responsibility and to have opportunities for leadership, we should let them. They are the ones who are being directly impacted our decisions and they have the insider knowledge that we don’t have. By listening to them we can make more sustainable change and we can teach the students we are working with how to be facilitators of change themselves.
Question #5: What advice do you have for future Coordinators or anyone looking to join health-related fields?
Listen to your community first! Ask the people who you are working with what they think is important and focus on that. This creates community support and it increases the chances that your programming will be successful. Most importantly it shows the community members that you care about their issues and that you are listening to them.
Question #6: What do you plan to pursue after your placement, and how is your time with HealthCorps helping you achieve that goal?
I haven’t decided exactly what route I am going to pursue after my time with HealthCorps, but I am considering getting a Master’s in Educational Psychology so I can be a counselor.