Coordinator of the Month: Ally Hoffman | October 2018
Name: Ally Hoffman
Hometown: Houston, Texas
College Attended / Major: Texas State University / B.S. Public Relations and Mass Communication
HealthCorps School Placement/State/City: Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, Florida
Question #1: What led you to HealthCorps?
During senior year of my undergrad, I discovered just how much I loved working with non-profits after completing an internship with The Seton Fund in Austin, Texas. During that time, I worked with the events team, raising money for babies in the Seton Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, leading me to realize that I love helping to give a voice to those who are or feel as though they are voiceless. So, enter HealthCorps and the opportunity to work with students and provide the resources for them to develop grit. For a girl who could have used someone like our HealthCorps Coordinators while in high school, this position offered the perfect opportunity to give back and help students understand the value in resiliency.
Question #2: What has been the best part about your placement so far?
Hands down, the best part of my position so far has been the incredibly rewarding opportunity to see these phenomenal students grow and really become the best versions of themselves. I had a student tell me that I taught them that it is “cool to be kind” to others. For as simple a statement as that may be, it speaks such volumes to the lessons we are teaching these students in our schools. We are in the business of teaching individuals how to be good people. All the while, we are learning too! Every day my students teach me that it is the little things that matter. It doesn’t take much time to sincerely ask someone how their day is going or if they ate breakfast that morning or if they got their driver’s license. All those little things, that seem so menial in the moment, are so much bigger and more impactful than anyone could ever imagine because you may be the only person who has ever asked them that. You could be the only person in the world who cares whether or not that child ate breakfast and the fact of the matter is, even if you aren’t the only person, you showed them that someone cares enough to ask and someone finds their answer to be important.
Question #3: What are some activities that you are involved with outside of the classroom?
Outside of the classroom, I spend a lot of time with my puppy that, oddly enough, I adopted at a Cardinal Newman puppy day! He seems to have that same interest for cooking that I have developed, but I have a slight inclination that he just wants me to feed him from the counter. I also really enjoy attending events with live music; there is something about music that brings people from all walks of life together, and I live for that sense of community. Being that music is one of my greatest passions, I often find myself singing and songwriting as well which leads me to the fact that I love writing in general. Even so, more than anything, I enjoy the opportunity to travel! Whether it be a road trip or a flight half way across the world, I love the opportunity for adventure. Seeing new places and the different ways people live is absolutely fascinating but I will say, it’s always better to have someone to travel with. That said, it is important to point out how valuable I find the time spent with my friends and family.
Question #4: What do you plan to pursue after your service to HealthCorps is complete?
After my time with HealthCorps comes to a close, I intend on heading back to school to pursue a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. At the moment, I have my sights set on becoming a therapist that specializes in adolescents with exposure to trauma. After working in a high school setting and having experienced some trying times myself, I find that this position is so important in a grand attempt to normalize the act of seeking therapy. In the future, it is my hope that all schools have the proper access to mental health services, and I hope to be apart of that change.
Question #5: 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?
This is an incredibly difficult question for me to answer because my students have taught me so much. Although, if I had to boil it all down to just one thing, I would have to say that the greatest lesson I have been taught would be that authenticity is invaluable. Last year, the students asked me a simple question, “What is your key to happiness?” and as creative minds typically do, I began thinking way too far into it. Then, I was finally able to come up with the answer, “being my most authentic self.” After sharing that response, the students had somewhat perplexed looks on their faces as they thought it through and let me know that my answer was the only one that differed from the rest. In that moment, I understood how impactful it is to be yourself, unapologetically. Essentially, don’t be afraid to be yourself because you never know who might relate to you and might have felt like an outcast up until the moment you walked into the room.