Thankful for HealthCorps
By Macheala Taylor | HealthCorps Coordinator 2017 – 2019
One of the most rewarding yet challenging aspects of being a coordinator is classroom facilitation. In classroom facilitation, I enter some classes at Kingston High School once a week and others once every other week to share the HealthCorps curriculum in hopes of facilitating healthy and sustainable behavior change. Each of these classes have their own atmosphere.
One is extremely rambunctious, another is small but curious, and another is somewhat reserved but very large. Every week/Every other week, I work with these classes to demonstrate the three pillars of health within HealthCorps: physical activity, nutrition, and mental resilience. During these classroom visits, we discuss behavior change for a healthier future. Sometimes that discussion is hesitant with students afraid of change, whereas others are just so blown away by the information, they cannot help but tell others about it.
One of my weekly classes includes a very unique demographic of students that face a number of personal challenges in their everyday life. Within this class is a very interactive and honest student who we will call Ben. Since my first day of facilitating in Ben’s class, he has answered and asked questions and helped me explain to his fellow students how what I am teaching is important. Ben is honest about sharing his personal experiences with the class and sometimes, when the experience is too personal, he shares them with me personally. Since the beginning. Ben has been changing his behaviors not because I tell him he should, but because he feels that healthy behavior change is something that he deserves. Since entering his classroom, Ben has told me how he practices mindful eating, or eating without distractions and pays attention to the foods and beverages he lets into his body. He also shares that he gets up and moves his body as often as he can. Ben has told me:
“I feel better about myself because I care more about myself. And I am thankful for the opportunity to have you in my classroom because without you and HealthCorps, I would not be getting this basic but very important information any other way.”
Several topics covered in HealthCorps classroom facilitation have sparked conversation between me and Ben, specifically National Nigh of Conversation (NNOC). NNOC was introduced to my classes as well as I shared a local resource of F.A.T.E: Fighting Addiction Through Education, both of which teach students the impact of opioid drug use and abuse. After sharing F.A.T.E’s documentary series of “Killing Pain” with Ben’s class, he shared a personal experience with me regarding a family member’s opioid use. Ben said,
“Thank you for starting this conversation with us. We know about the problem, but where we live, no one wants to talk to us about it or they are afraid to. I appreciate you talking to us about issues like opioid abuse because otherwise, some of us would never know.”
I am thankful that HealthCorps has provided me the platform to reach out to these students, like Ben, who feel empowered by the resources HealthCorps programs provide as well as the opportunity for education that they might not have had access to otherwise.