Coordinator of the Month – Courtney Baldwin | January 2018
Name: Courtney Baldwin
Hometown: Boston, MA
College Attended / Major: Davidson College, Psychology Major
HealthCorps School Placement/State/City: Alisal High School in Salinas, CA.
HealthCorps has had a long string of Davidson grads as coordinators (woo Go Wildcats)!! One of my friends was a coordinator a few years before me and I heard about what wonderful things she was doing and I was eager to be a part of it!!
The highlight of my time at Alisal has been watching my students take initiative around making change at school and in the community. Seeing them work together to create their booths for the health fair or plan a night of conversation for students to share challenges they’ve faced is what motivates me to show up every day. My students are incredibly strong, passionate and motivated to improve their health and the health of others.
I advise three clubs on campus—a student-led health awareness club, a mindfulness club and a cooking club. The health awareness club works tirelessly to make healthy change in the cafeteria, to inform the school about ways to care for your health and to create open dialogues around mental health. I work with the school psychologist on campus to run the mindfulness club. This club serves students struggling with overwhelming worry and/or sadness who are looking for tools to overcome their symptoms. We meet weekly to practice mindfulness together and to talk about our experiences in our personal practices. Lastly, the cooking club has grown immensely from last year and is now serving 95 students in 4 different sessions and is 100% funded by the district (thank you Principal Garcia J) Together after school we cook healthy, vegetarian versions of the delicious foods students love.
I am extremely excited to go back to school for a Masters in Nutrition Science. I love learning the way our bodies and minds are affected by the foods and chemicals we consume. I hope to one day work as a dietitian in a clinic specializing in mental health.
I have learned the expression, “good, better, best.” This is an expression we use at HealthCorps to explain how we strive for improvement, not perfection. For example, a bowl of cereal for breakfast is good, a granola bar low in sugar and high in protein is better and a plate of eggs with veggies would be best. When I came to Alisal, I had lofty goals that I quickly realized weren’t possible for a variety of reasons. While at first I felt as though I’d failed and was rendered useless by the barriers facing our school, over time I have realized that there are many ways to improve the health culture here even if we never reach a best situation. I look forward to taking this lesson with me in my work in future communities.