Coordinator of the Month: Jessica May | July 2020
Name: Jessica May
Hometown: Corbin, Kentucky
College Attended / Graduating Class / Major: Union College 2019 — Barbourville, KY
HealthCorps School Placement / City / State: Knox Central High School and Barbourville Independent Schools —Barbourville, KY
Fun Fact: I love to draw anime characters, even though I don’t watch anime.
Question #1: Why did you choose HealthCorps?
I chose HealthCorps because I am passionate about our youth and their success. From the excitement on the students face to learn a new way to be healthy to the hard work that goes in to planning a big event, it is all worth it to reach the ultimate goal. The opportunity to have an impact on a child’s life is incredible, especially when you are working to implement a change that will improve their lifestyle and create a positive environment around health and wellbeing. What we teach and the resources we provide, will be the change we aspire for.
Question #2: What role do you play in your school(s) beyond “HealthCorps Coordinator”?
Outside of being a HealthCorps Program Coordinator, I try to be a support for any club, group, student, or staff member. Rather that is showing up to a sporting event, or simply being an open ear to talk to. I have also been known as the “healthy snack lady,” a mentor, a friend, and a facilitator. There is so much to learn from those around us, so I am also still a student trying to learn, not only from the staff, but from my students as well.
Question #3: What have you learned during your placement so far? What has surprised you most?
I have learned a countless number of things as HealthCorps Program Coordinator. I was shocked at the lack of knowledge around healthy habits. But, I learned that it wasn’t that the staff and students did not want to make healthier decisions, they just weren’t sure how. Later, I learned that an impact can be made regardless of the environment around health and wellbeing. I was blown away by how excited everyone was to learn fun new ways to be healthier, even more surprised that their new habits became a lifestyle. BIG WIN! Once COVID-19 hit, I learned that you can still serve your community, even if it is simply through distributing food to families, or providing activities to stimulate growth and learning. Above all, I learned that there are endless ways to have an impact, you just have to be willing to give your time and effort.
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?
Focus on the needs of the students and the community. Try to get creative about how you present the programming to your audience. This may be their first time being exposed to the information, so you want to leave a good impression. Do not get discouraged if the buy in is not there at first, it’s about consistency.
Question #5: What advice do you have for future Coordinators or anyone looking to join health-related fields?
Trust the process. Things may not always go as you plan, but always remember why you started. Listen to your students about what they need most. Create lasting relationships within your school and community, these connections can fuel your programming and strengthen the outreach. HAVE FUN! You want to be sure that your audience is taking in all of the information, but it is also important that they are excited to try it themselves.
Question #6: What do you plan to pursue after your placement, and how is your time with HealthCorps helping you achieve that goal?
I am starting my Masters in Higher Education Administration with an emphasis on Student Success. So, I hope to continue to work in the schools around the nation helping students reach their maximum potential. Before HealthCorps, I was not entirely sure what I wanted to do. HC has set me up for success in this field and has taught me so much about how to be a professional.