Growing up in a low socioeconomic area that was also considered a food desert, Elizabeth found it challenging to be healthy. In 2016, she was a freshman at Ardmore High School when she was introduced to HealthCorps — and it changed her life.
Through HealthCorps, Elizabeth learned of new foods and healthier recipes and shared HealthCorps' lessons with her parents. "I started pushing for more fruits with our breakfast, instead of bacon with biscuits and gravy. And we would even switch our syrup out for a lighter, sugar-free option." Elizabeth also shared her learnings with her best friend, Kelley. This lead Kelley and her mom to make healthier decisions in their home too — trying more fruits and vegetables that they weren't familiar with.
HealthCorps wasn't just about healthier foods. It played a vital role in helping her learn how to navigate stressful and difficult events. Tragedy struck her school community when they lost a student to suicide and Elizabeth recalls the support HealthCorps provided for her and her classmates, giving them the resiliency to navigate adversity.
The behaviors and skills Elizabeth learned with HealthCorps changed the trajectory of her life for the better. "This program inspired and prepared me to be a voice in public health. I can help people make those lifestyle changes and give them an understanding of health that will set them up for a better life."
But the impact of HealthCorps doesn’t stop there. Now, seven years later, Elizabeth proudly supports schools, businesses, and local communities as a Health Educator for the Oklahoma Department of Health. HealthCorps students have a passion that ensures they carry the health lessons they learn with them for life and a sense of purpose and drive to build careers that drive health impacts in their communities.
This story was featured in our October 2023 newsletter. Subscribe below for more stories and news from HealthCorps.