Mealtime Blessings with HealthCorps in Oklahoma
Lauren Crutchfield is a student at Ardmore High School in Ardmore, Okla. Like all teens, Lauren has experienced the highs and lows of a relationship, tensions with friends and some family stress. However, with the help of HealthCorps and her coordinator Lindsey Maurice-Walker, Lauren has made some significant changes to improve her health and outlook on life.
Lindsey Maurice-Walker came into Lauren’s life at a perfect time, it seems. They first met when Lauren approached Lindsey for some advice on how to eat better when travelling to basketball games with her uncle. Then, after an emotionally difficult summer, Lauren came to Lindsey’s office to talk. Lindsey encouraged Lauren to continue to stop by, which she did almost three to four times a week.
After a short time, Lauren began to see improvements in herself. She shared with HC, “Talking with Miss Walker about what I’ve been through has helped me a lot because she gives me information on how to deal with my stress, like listening to Calm (the meditation app) and meditating.”
Lauren began to see Lindsey almost like a big sister, and Lindsey in turn provided good advice and a shoulder to lean on. “After she broke up with her boyfriend, I watched Lauren’s progress to regain her confidence. I saw how strong-minded she is and knew she was going to be o.k.”
Understanding good nutrition is another area where HealthCorps and Lindsey have have made a positive impact on Lauren and her family. Through the Mealtime Blessings Initiative, HealthCorps tries to promote the importance of family mealtime and healthy food choices to students and their families. Lindsey recalls a particular day where she invited Lauren and her mother over for a meal:
“When they arrived, I was half-way through prepping the meal, so I had Lauren come over and help me cut mushrooms and vegetables for the dish while her mom took a Mealtime Blessings survey. I was amazed at how Lauren took to being in the kitchen! We had music playing, the food smelled AMAZING, and the look on Lauren’s face to be helping was radiant. She lit up like a Christmas tree!
I asked Lauren to chop and mince the garlic before putting it into the sauce pan, and she gave me a confused look. Her mom then replied, ‘Lauren, you do know how to chop garlic, right?’ She replied, ‘No, you always buy it already chopped.’ Then her mom came over, took the knife, and started showing her how to chop the garlic. Lauren watched, placed her arm around her mom, and said, ‘This is fun!’
During that hour, we laughed, talked, and really got to share quality time over a delicious meal (btw we had Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Vegetable Medley). In that moment, I could see the positive lasting effects that cooking a family meal together could have on a child’s life, and how surprised her mother was to be enjoying herself.”
Lauren is thankful for Lindsey and HealthCorps’ initiatives. She shared, “My experience with HealthCorps and Miss Walker has been great! HealthCorps has helped me get back into shape and get healthy by influencing me to eat better. I loved volunteering at the Health Fair this year – staying after school and helping out with that.”
“Lauren is special,” said Lindsey. “She is a good, compassionate, loving girl who has a good head on her shoulders. She, like so many young girls, is trying to figure out who she is and what she has to offer the world. Her trust in me has allowed for conversations that really supported her development. I can really see a change in her confidence and her ability to open up since being a part of HealthCorps.”