What Happens After HealthCorps: Year 1
Anderson New Technology High School had HealthCorps Coordinators from 2012- 2016. Funded by The California Endowment, Coordinators Betsy Reedy and Natalie Sandoval were tasked with making health topics engaging and relatable, as well as with increasing the capacity of the school to continue health programming following their departure.
How is the school doing now? Let’s take a look at the lasting impact HealthCorps has had.
Natalie returned for the school’s “Lean & Green” Community Health Fair, Spring 2017, coordinated by 50+ students and staff of New Tech and City of Anderson Parks & Recreation. This year, she wasn’t the one running around behind the scenes to make sure the event was a success. Instead, she was able to watch on as the students and PE teacher, “Mr. Caz”, set up student-run booths and present to over 500 local elementary students. Booths ranged from a puppet show to talk about the importance of sleep, to getting students moving with Zumba, to sharing infused water samples and the benefits of making healthy drink choices. It was an exciting and successful event, out at local Anderson River Park!
Mr. Caz is a new teacher at New Tech, and co-facilitator of the event for the first time. Luckily, he had several “veteran” students participating, who knew what the event looked like, and how to create fun and engaging booths. Natalie shares her insight on the event:
“That is sustainability at ANTHS, a small school in rural northern California. It’s the people we invested in. It’s the people who have either helped lead, or have participated in events while HealthCorps was there; they are now passing on lessons learned to others who never interacted with a HealthCorps Coordinator. It’s the people who make events like this happen; the Principal who advocated for student participation, the staff members who gave classroom time for their students to prepare, the office staff who helped with permission slips and transportation arrangements, the students who volunteered their time to prepare the demonstrations and activities, and the community partners that came together to ensure the success of the event!”
Natalie returned to the school campus, and it wasn’t long until Principal Germano was giving her a tour of the school garden. The school garden project began under Natalie in 2015 with think-group meetings and several applications for local grants. “It was a surreal moment when we found out we were awarded $34,000 from The McConnell Fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation, and yet another unforgettable moment when we broke ground. My two-year term as a Coordinator ended before I could see the project to completion. I outlined next steps, identified vendors, and left documentation for the stakeholders who would be overseeing the project. It was pretty difficult to walk away from a project that I was so invested in. Coming back to see the continued progress of the garden made any “what if” anxieties I had melt away. They were doing it! The efforts certainly did not stop when HealthCorps departed. Instead, the school community continues to provide what they can to benefit the students mentally, physically, and emotionally. I look forward to hearing more about the garden’s continued progress, and for the students in Cooking Club, a program started by HealthCorps and continued by Math Teacher J Orellana, to start exploring farm to fork flavors!”
Though HealthCorps no longer has a Coordinator present on campus, the organization’s presence can still be felt by the resources that were procured, the staff members who have embraced HealthCorps programs and ideals as their own, and the students who continue to be health advocates in their community. Anderson New Technology High School is part of the growing network of schools that make up our HealthCorps community. Together, #wearehealthcorps.