Rocco DiSpirito Golden Heart Award Acceptance Speech: Full Transcript

Posted 04/28/2017 | By HealthCorps

Thank you Lisa and Dr. Oz, Michelle Bouchard and everyone at HealthCorps for this incredible honor.

They say (and this is a Bruce Lee quote) “The reward is found in the work.” And often it’s cliché — but not today. 

Don’t misunderstand me, I am so so grateful for this recognition. But I knew from the VERY first visit to a HealthCorps school that being an Ambassador would be meaningful and transformative. Both for me and the children we advocate for. 

You could call this foundation “Hope Corps.” Yes we use health and wellness as the fundamental conversation, but what really happens is children, students, teachers and parents feel a renewed sense of hope.

The in-school coordinators are not only purveyors of a healthy lifestyle, they are kind and generous recent college graduates and are an example of what can happen if you have hope. 

Their mentoring and friendship provides a needed respite from the grind of everyday life, which for the average teenager is already difficult, not to mention those who are at risk. 

And when it comes to health most teenagers are at risk. I don’t have to recite stats for you to know what’s at stake. The eating habits of each of the past 3 generations inherited by the previous has caused a massive deficit, not of wealth but–health. 

In my practice, I work one on one with clients who tend to be extremely successful in their given professions, but can’t get a handle on how to live a healthy lifestyle. The reasons for this are vast and complex but essentially, it’s because there aren’t enough healthy choices and most people barely understand what “healthy” means. 

But do not fear, this is all repairable!

This is where HealthCorps comes in. Their presence in our schools propels the lives of the students they work with. 

I’ve personally seen the transformations happen. Over the course of many school visits with my food truck and cooking demos, judging cooking competitions and community events, I’ve seen kids become believers that healthy and delicious is possible. And over the years I’ve personally witnessed how impactful it is to help youth embrace healthy habits from a young age. 

With HealthCorps, I’ve seen the eyes of thousands of students go bright and wide with anticipation, and they are never disappointed. 

Thanks to their in school coordinators, the terrific curriculum, and of course frequent interactions with Dr. Oz and many of his inspirational friends–those who despair now repair and thrive. 

Those who are uncomfortable & ashamed, are now proud. Those who felt loss of control have regained control. They say health is wealth and this lesson is not lost on these children of HealthCorps. 

Another famous doctor once said “The reward for work well done, is the opportunity to do more.” – Jonas Salk

And that is PRECISELY what I am SO grateful for. 

When Dr. Oz asked me to work with HealthCorps ten years ago, I gave it little thought. It was described “like the peace corps but for health”. It was a no brainer. Brilliant, exactly what I am dreaming about, I thought! Sign me up. 

And today I KNOW that not only is “the reward found in the work”, thanks to you, the friends and champions of health corps, I get TO DO MORE. And for that I am truly thankful. 

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