From the Corps: New Year’s Letter by Amy Barras

Posted 01/14/2013 | By HealthCorps

Happy Holidays!

I can’t believe another New Year is about to arrive. It seems like just yesterday, I was flying to San Francisco for my interview with HealthCorps and here I am almost three years later.  Every year around the same time (during my health fair), I reminded of how grateful I am to be working for an organization that has such meaningful purpose to thousands of lives and my own. Three has always been my lucky number, call me superstitious, but I think my third year has been the best year so far.

This year’s fair was incredibly special. All 290 freshman students organized, planned, chose the theme (Game Show), and worked together to implement their project.  They worked on their individual booths every Friday and celebrated their hard work. About 400 upperclassmen came to the fair. Many of our upperclassmen said this year’s fair was better than last years and the year before. Every year it keeps getting better and better. A huge reason for the success was because the students did everything (literally everything except for shopping- they gave me supply lists that I either approved or denied).

The only thing I did was show up, teach, facilitate, and shop. They were the creative ones. They built their booths from nothing with previous knowledge from the years before. Some pieces were built from the ground up, such as a homemade limbo bar and a balance beam. I am proud of my students. I am proud to be their mentor and to be able to teach them that anything is possible. I believe all students can succeed and that they are capable of anything. This year, as always, they proved me right!

I wanted to share some other things that have been happening in Portland. Earlier this year, Benson High School received a grant from Nike’s Community Grant Fund for $20,000. The grant was in support of the health and wellness initiatives at the school and is supporting Benson with the money to purchase new exercise equipment. We ordered the equipment. It was hand selected by our students and it arrived on January 7th.

The special part about the grant is that we were able to allow students to decide which equipment to buy. We made a special trip to LA fitness to test out equipment with all 290 students and then they had a vote. They voted on spinning bikes, a few ellipticals, sand bag weights, and a giant jungle gym like structure.

If that wasn’t fantastic enough, Nike is also supplying Benson’s Health/PE program with 300 Fuelbands. Fuelbands are sort of like high tech, well-working pedometers. They specifically measure movement and give an estimate of calories burned and steps taken.

Our Fuelband project will launch on January 29th. The mission of this project is broad, but simple: to get and keep Benson High School Freshman physically active with the NIKE+ Fuelband.

I am excited for the New Year and I am so happy I have a wonderful HeatlhCorps team to share these successes with.  2013 is going to be a great year and a busy one! I am proud of my school.

They have taken HealthCorps mission and have run with it.

Amy Barras

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