BTG Hope

"The BTG Program provides needed resources to the many thousands of community-based organizations that are working to create a more socially just and compassionate world. Because of their support, many nonprofits are able to reach and enrich the lives of many more people."
BTG Community Preceptor
Home >

Philadelphia Consortium Projects

Children & Youth

Back to Summaries by Region

Healthy Choices Summer Camp

Student Intern(s):
Justine Brechue, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Andrew Lambour, Drexel University College of Medicine
Maggie Ludwig-Albert, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Meghan Maslanka, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Elizabeth Hartzell, PhD, ATR-BC, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Community Preceptor(s): 
Suku John, PhD, East Park Revitalization Alliance

The Community Site:
East Park Revitalization Alliance (EPRA) aims to empower residents to revitalize the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood through the arts, environment and education. EPRA joined with the Mander Recreation Center to present the Healthy Choices Summer Camp for children aged 6 to 13 from the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Environmental Quality
Focus Areas:  Physical Activity and Fitness; Nutrition and Overweight; Environmental Health; Injury and Violence Prevention; Educational and Community-Based Programs

The Project:
Justine, Andrew, Maggie and Meghan worked with the staff of the Mander Recreational Center to develop and implement activities that promoted an active and healthy lifestyle for the children attending the summer camp program. The interns developed a daily schedule for the campers, and worked with senior and teen counselors to implement health-promoting activities, including sports, cooking, nutrition, swimming, hiking, and arts and crafts. A large part of the student interns’ experience involved leading and participating in the activities, and spending time with the children in order to form strong relationships. Justine said, “This summer was an eye-opening experience that allowed me to better understand the community. … This understanding will be greatly beneficial … in future career paths.”  Andrew said, “I take from this experience new skills in communicating with children, as well as lasting memories and relationships that I will never forget.  It was a challenge, but the experience was invaluable.”  Maggie said, “I learned a lot about what it’s like to be a kid growing up in this community. I also had a chance to develop my leadership skills.”  Meghan commented, “I am leaving this experience with great confidence in my abilities to talk and connect with kids. … In addition, I learned some great strategies for helping children who feel ill or get hurt, which can be tricky, but is incredibly valuable for a medical professional.” 

Back to Top

Neighborhood Foods

Student Intern(s):
James Becker, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Caitlin Dietsche, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptor(s):
Carl Pitts, PT, DPT, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Physical Therapy

Community Preceptor(s):
Skip Wiener, Urban Tree Connection

The Community Site:
Urban Tree Connection is a community-based urban greening project that transforms abandoned open spaces into community gardens, providing fruits and vegetables to surrounding residents. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Environmental Quality
Focus Areas:  Diabetes; Education and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Caitlin and James supervised a group of eight teenagers maintaining multiple community gardens in the Haddington area of West Philadelphia. Their activities included weeding, pruning, watering, harvesting, cleaning produce and trash removal. Caitlin and James led discussions on nutrition, violence prevention and prejudice. In addition, the interns helped the Urban Tree Connection develop an evaluation of their new and largest garden. Caitlin commented, “My time with the Urban Tree Connection has been a rewarding experience in many ways.  I learned the importance of community involvement in order to improve living conditions and health on a larger scale. … It allowed me to learn about different groups of people and make an impact on a community level.”  James said, “This summer was hot, humid and exhausting … but I learned a good deal. As someone interested in adolescent primary care, I was able to practice interacting with this challenging age group. … I learned more about the day-to-day patience and persistence required to reach teenagers.”

Back to Top

Opening the Storybook on Healthy Living

Student Intern(s):
Binh Tieu, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Nursing
Jaimie Shah, Temple University, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Dianne Butera
, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Alexis Brown
, MBA, Community Women's Education Project, Early Learning Center
Diane Love, Community Women's Education Project, Early Learning Center

The Community Site:
Community Women's Education Project (CWEP) is a community-based education organization founded to address the social and economic inequities that affect at-risk families. An important part of the organization is CWEP's Kids, the only nationally accredited child care center in Kensington. The center is dedicated to providing the highest quality educational care. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Immunization; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas: Immunization and Infectious Diseases; Maternal, Infant, and Child Health; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Jaimie and Binh developed a health education and promotion program for children aged 3 to 5 who were participating in the Community Women's Education Project (CWEP) child care program. The health education and promotion curriculum addressed dental and personal hygiene, heart health, nutrition, physical activity, and other relevant, age-appropriate topics. Jaimie and Binh wrote and illustrated a storybook, "Max's Incredible Adventure," which they used to introduce the health topics to the children. Each week, the interns would begin with a presentation from the book, followed by activities to reinforce the lessons highlighted in the book. Jaimie said, "Working with the preschoolers this summer was fun, challenging and exhausting, all at the same time. The kids and teachers pushed me to use the creative part of my brain that had been silenced for so long. The most important lesson I learned from the CWEP Kid's program is the true meaning of the word 'ingenuity'." Binh commented, "CWEP gave me an opportunity to work with some fantastic kids this summer. I had a chance to provide some health care education that was appropriate for children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. It was an extremely gratifying experience that I will carry on into my life, as well as in my professional career. Because of my experience this summer, I feel like I have more confidence to work with young children."

Back to Top

Health Education Works: Exercising Bodies and Minds at Morton Summer Camp

Student Intern(s):
William Connor Darby, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Barrie Nussbaum, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Yona Silverman, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Chanita Hughes Halbert, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Jeffrey Draine, PhD, MSW, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Raina Merchant, MD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Lydia Greene, EducationWorks, Morton Project
Shana Simon, EducationWorks, Morton Project
Francine Natal, EducationWorks, Morton Project

The Community Site:
EducationWorks enriches the lives of children and families by providing educational programs and services in communities confronting high rates of poverty and other barriers to educational achievement. The organization provides a summer program for youth at the Morton School in Southwest Philadelphia. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Mental Health
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Mental Health and Mental Disorders

The Project:
Yona, Connor and Barrie created and implemented a cohesive summer curriculum that focused on teaching campers at EducationWorks Morton to live an active, healthy lifestyle. The interns focused on nutrition and related topics—including the food pyramid, portion size and healthy alternatives—while also modeling healthy eating habits and mentoring campers regarding nutrition, oral health, physical health, social skills and peer relationships. They used a variety of resources, including the Penn Smiles bus, and engaged Bridging the Gaps interns from Neighborhood Bike Works to enrich the summer experience for the campers. The interns established meaningful relationships with campers and EducationWorks staff members, and built upon the foundation laid by last year's interns. Yona, Connor and Barrie created a replicable curriculum that can be used and expanded upon by future interns. Yona remarked, "My summer experience at Morton has been wonderful—not only has it informed and shaped my thoughts about nutrition and health education for urban youth, but I've also had a fantastic time. I looked forward to emerging from the trolley at 63rd and Elmwood every morning, calling out 'good mornings' to all of the kids, and getting the opportunity to learn about the Southwest Philadelphia community. I certainly hope our curriculum will help our students make both physically and emotionally healthy choices, but I know I learned so much about working with children, and about some of the systemic and institutional barriers to healthy living that I will be combating as a future physician." Barrie said, "My summer working for BTG has been a wonderful experience, I was lucky to have had the opportunity to work with an incredible team of individuals with diverse professional perspectives. … I have gained an increased awareness of the needs of the Southwest Philadelphia community, particularly regarding access to nutritional food. I will value this experience as I begin a career in the social policy arena; my path will now be informed by an experience that showed me, firsthand, the barriers many families in low-income communities face to living affordably healthy and active lifestyles." Connor noted, "I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the children and staff at the site, and I carry away many amazing memories of them as a permanent reminder of the extraordinary impact education and human connection can have on promoting positive behaviors. I recognize now more than ever how health-related behaviors are influenced not only by education but by the structure of the community as well. The Southwest Philadelphia community provides a unique set of opportunities and challenges to its citizens in regards to making healthy choices, and I learned quickly that the children received and processed our health lessons better when they believed the teaching had practical significance specific to their community. Witnessing the children's enthusiasm to learn and alacrity to practice healthy behaviors has been truly inspiring and is a major reason why I am excited to continue teaching and promoting health as a future physician."

Back to Top

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies: Brightening the Future at North Light Community Center

Student Intern(s):
Tasleema Khan, Drexel University College of Medicine
Kimberly Lau, Drexel University College of Medicine
Joseph Titano, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Diane Gottlieb, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Tariem Burroughs, North Light Community Center
Latifah Williams, North Light Community Center

The Community Site:
North Light Community Center, located in Manayunk, is a multi-service center that provides art and recreation programs, as well as employment services and emergency support. In the summer, the center provides a day camp for community children. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Mental Health
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Mental Health and Mental Disorders

The Project:
Tasleema, Kimberly and Joseph worked at North Light Community Center promoting health and wellness for children aged 3 to 12. Activities included learning about the new food pyramid and making nutritious snacks to emphasize the importance of healthy eating; holding relay races to show the essential role of fitness in daily life; teaching yoga and leading guided meditation to illustrate that a healthy mind is as critical as a healthy body; preparing a Heart Smart poster to underscore the significance of cardiovascular health; and performing a mock doctor's examination to reveal the value of regular health maintenance. In addition to assisting senior counselors with daily activities, the interns supervised counselors-in-training and junior counselors. Tasleema said, "I learned … that every child needs to be dealt with individually, and to understand a child, one must first realize the child's unique circumstances and background. I hope to carry the skills and knowledge I have gained this summer into my future profession as a pediatrician." Kimberly noted, "This experience taught me the importance of communication. Whether one is teaching a child about the food pyramid, or explaining a medical diagnosis to an adult, one must always be clear, patient and receptive to questions. … It has given me tremendous insight into how to communicate with my future pediatric patients." Joseph said, "By sharing educational and entertaining experiences with the campers and staff at North Light, I have been able to observe children passing developmental milestones. … I feel that working on a diverse team at the North Light Community Center has provided me with another opportunity to engage with members of the Philadelphia community that I intend to serve once I complete my training as a physician."

Back to Top

Developing Healthy Behaviors and Attitudes in Philadelphia's Youth

Student Intern(s):
Arika Appold, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Christina Palladino, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Amy Weniger, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptor(s):
Caryn Johnson, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Community Preceptor(s):
Christine Whaley, MA, Project H.O.M.E., Honickman Learning Center, Restorative Practices Program

The Community Site:
Project H.O.M.E's Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs, located in North Central Philadelphia, provides programs for community residents that integrate the arts, technology and literacy initiatives. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Injury and Violence; Physical Activity; Substance Abuse
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Physical Activity and Fitness; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Arika, Amy and Christina worked with the faculty of Project H.O.M.E.'s Honickman Learning Center. The interns spent the majority of their time in the fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms supporting the current curriculum of computer technology, literacy and mathematical skills. Arika, Amy and Christina worked to incorporate into the curriculum a healthy initiatives series, which involved interactive lessons and activities. These initiatives focused on nutrition and exercise promotion, heart disease prevention, substance abuse prevention, conflict resolution, and healthy decision-making skills. The interns worked to develop rapport with the students and, as a result, one-on-one relationships evolved between the interns and the students. Christina said, "It has been a rewarding and enriching experience." Amy remarked, "I was impressed with the motivation and positive outlooks the young children possessed and I felt privileged to have the opportunity to help mold and shape these young, eager minds." Arika said, "Working with children this age has been a new experience for me. … The children constantly showed an interest in the lessons we presented and always wanted to learn more."

Back to Top

There Today, H.E.R.O. Tomorrow

Student Intern(s):
Seth Eberhardt, Temple University, School of Podiatric Medicine
Mimi Menji, Temple University, School of Pharmacy
Mark Scaccia, Temple University, School of Medicine
James Schwartz, Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry

Academic Preceptor(s):
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Doris Phillips, H.E.R.O. (Helping Energize and Rebuild Ourselves) Community Center

The Community Site:
H.E.R.O. (Helping Energize and Rebuild Ourselves) Community Center, located in the Nicetown section of North Philadelphia, aims to help community members in need, especially children and seniors. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity; Injury and Violence
Focus Areas: Food Safety; Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Seth, Mimi, Mark and Jimmy planned and implemented daily healthy lifestyle activities for the summer camp at H.E.R.O. Community Center. The interns created fun, interactive activities that enabled the children to express themselves through arts and crafts, dance, and free play. The health topics they addressed included oral health, nutrition and healthy eating habits, and cardiovascular health. Daily dance instruction, and visits to the Franklin Institute's interactive heart exhibit and the community garden, reinforced the lessons. Jimmy noted, "It was great using my background knowledge on dentistry to teach the children proper ways to brush their teeth and keep their mouths clean. It was great seeing children get excited about my future profession." Mark said, "I enjoyed the opportunity to listen and laugh with the children and learn something new on a daily basis. I took this experience as a chance to grow as a person and learn much more about the community I will serve in the future." Seth added, "This experience has allowed me to give back to the community. … I am very grateful to have this opportunity." Mimi said, "Being from Ethiopia, I took this as a valuable learning experience and will be able to use the skills I learned as I continue on my career path."

Back to Top

Eat, Play, Thrive: Establishing a Food Program

Student Intern(s):
Lauren Fikse, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Isabelle Rostain, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Ann L. O'Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Joel A. Fein, MD, MPH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Heather Palasky, RN, BSN, Frankie's World

The Community Site:
Frankie's World, located in North Philadelphia, is a day-care center for children from newborn to age 8 with special health care needs. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Access to Health Care; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas: Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Food Safety

The Project:
Isabelle and Lauren spearheaded the healthy food initiative at Frankie's World. The project included researching Child and Adult Care Food Program requirements, identifying local vendors, consulting state guidelines and regulations, and organizing a presentation for the Frankie's World board of directors. While working on the food initiative, Isabelle and Lauren designed lessons on oral health and healthy hearts for the children. They found storybooks at the local library that addressed issues of friendship, family and feelings to complement the existing collection at Frankie's World.
Lauren commented, "Before BTG, I never thought of a career in community health. Now I can't picture my future without some type of volunteering or working in the community. Now I have the hardest decision—in which facet of the community will I volunteer?" Isabelle noted, "Being at Frankie's World this summer reminded me that optimal care for a medically challenged growing child involves an entire team—families, nurses, doctors, dieticians, therapists, transport personnel and school administration. It's easy to lose sight of this while confined to the classroom and hospital."

Back to Top

Maximizing Physical and Academic Health
Among Youth in a Domestic Violence Transitional Housing Program

Student Intern(s):
Deshanett Clay, Drexel University, School of Public Health
Justin Johannesen, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Mario Cruz, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Maria Tate, Women Against Abuse, Sojourner House

The Community Site:
Sojourner House of Women Against Abuse (WAA), is a transitional housing program, providing long-term housing and supportive services to domestic violence victims. The program provides family apartments for up to 24 months for women and their children who have been made homeless by domestic violence. Supportive services include case management, group counseling, on-site child care, after school programs, and parenting and life skills education. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Physical Activity; Injury and Violence; Mental Health
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Physical Activity and Fitness; Injury and Violence Prevention; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health

The Project:
Deshanett and Justin worked with nursery and school-age children (3- to 11-year-olds) at Sojourner House's summer camp program. The goal of the project was to create a safe, fun environment that fostered respect for others. The interns conducted academic review sessions, performed health education activities, and facilitated arts and crafts sessions. Health education topics included cardiovascular health, personal hygiene and oral health. In addition, Deshanett and Justin assisted the staff with daily free-time activities and weekly field trips. Deshanett said, "I was able to gain real-world experience, observe public health on an individual level, and blend classroom knowledge with field experience. I was also able to enhance my team-building skills and expand my knowledge of the health and social needs of vulnerable populations. Furthermore, I have achieved a greater understanding of the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) exposure on the social, emotional and physical health of infants and children." Justin commented, "I've been able to leave the classroom and, for the summer, work with a group of amazing kids who, in only a short period of time, I've seen grow and develop. I've been able to relate what I've learned in the classroom, work as part of a team, and gain valuable experience working with children. I find this exposure just as valuable as my academic training."

Back to Top

Health and Wellness With Norris Kids

Student Intern(s):
Radha Amin, Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry
Lauren DeStefano, Temple University, School of Medicine
Jessica Gitter, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Adam Semanoff, Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry

Academic Preceptor(s):
Nancy Rothman, EdD, RN, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Nursing
Eliza Johnson, BS, Temple Health Connection

Community Preceptor(s):
Lisa Gass, Norris Kids Camp
Monisha Jackson, Temple Health Connection

The Community Site:
Norris Kids, a summer camp for youth, is located at the Norris Homes Community Center in North Philadelphia and is supported by the Temple Health Connection.

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Injury and Violence; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Health Communication; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Radha, Lauren, Jessica and Adam worked with the Norris Kids Camp to organize and implement the summer day camp for children aged 5 to 13. The interns involved campers in activities and field trips to highlight the importance of health and wellness. The weekly themes included safety, body awareness, nutrition, physical fitness and the environment. The connecting theme for all activities was healthy eating and staying active. For example, a session during the environmental week provided a discussion of the BP oil spill followed by a trip to the Camden Aquarium. The programs and activities were designed so the campers could have fun while learning. Radha noted, "My time spent at Norris Kids has been an invaluable experience that I can incorporate into my health care profession as well as into my personal life. The children at Norris Kids were not only my students but my teachers." Lauren commented, "Not only was I able to teach about health and wellness, but [the youth] were able to teach me about themselves and their community and, in doing so, I learned a great deal about myself. I have truly enjoyed my summer experience and I will cherish the bonds that I have formed with the kids of Norris Homes." Jessica said, "Norris Kids was an eye-opening experience for me. I learned a lot about the community that surrounds the center and how that affects the kids we were working with. It was very challenging at first, but over time I came to enjoy my experience and will take the things I learned with me into my professional career." Adam noted, "Participating in Norris Kids summer program has been one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable experiences of my life. I discovered many things about the kids in the community and about myself that I did not anticipate. I found that all of the kids were uniquely talented—by helping them eliminate the word 'can't' from their vocabulary, they were able to accomplish much more than they ever thought possible."

Back to Top

Nutrition and Fitness With Neighborhood Bike Works

Student Intern(s):
Natalie Spaccarelli, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine
Keirnan Willett, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Catherine Bergeron, Neighborhood Bike Works
Andy Dyson, LCl, Neighborhood Bike Works

Academic Preceptor(s):
Brendan Carr, MD, MS, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine

The Community Site:
The Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW) promotes youth development by offering educational, recreational and career-building opportunities through bicycling. Since 1999, NBW has offered a variety of programming to all age groups through three main sites in Philadelphia. One core program, Earn-a-Bike, teaches youth aged 8 to17 the basics of bike mechanics and allows them to keep the repaired bicycle when they complete the program. In addition to learning mechanics, lessons on safety, nutrition and fitness are part of NBW's educational mission. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Injury and Violence; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas: Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Natalie and Keirnan conducted a series of traveling workshops, and they assisted the staff at the three Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW) centers in teaching children how to repair bicycles, ride safely within the city, and better understand the relationship between physical health, exercise, and nutrition. The interns' focused primarily on providing a health and fitness curriculum to supplement the NBW's bike mechanics and youth development program. The curriculum included sessions on understanding calories and food labels, cardiac fitness, hydration and atherosclerosis. In addition, each youth received a zip-code specific and Philadelphia-wide list of affordable sports and related programs. Natalie and Keirnan sought to update, develop, and add continuity to the existing NBW nutrition and fitness curriculum and to leave the organization with high-quality lesson plans and materials that could be easily accessed by the NBW staff. Keirnan said, "This summer has given me a unique chance to interact with Penn's patient base in an energetic and constructive way. In the past, I have had opportunities to connect with Philadelphia residents in the context of medical diseases—and I am sure my future as a medical student promises more of the same. With BTG at NBW, it felt refreshing to see kids' wholehearted excitement about bikes and to leverage a bit of that energy toward learning about nutrition and fitness. It was a lot of fun to be around the students, their families, as well as the agency staff, and help support this very important type of preventative medicine." Natalie noted, "My hope for the campers is that our lessons contributed to an educational foundation that will make subsequent nutrition and fitness information resonate more deeply and at a younger age than those who have not received such lessons."

Back to Top

Northern Home: In Search of Character

Student Intern(s):
Garrett Kalmar, Temple University, School of Podiatric Medicine
Brian Leeson, Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry
Melissa Linskey, Temple University, School of Medicine
Andrew Vorona, Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry

Academic Preceptor(s):
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Kevin Weber, Northern Home for Children

The Community Site:
Northern Home for Children's Partial Hospitalization Program is a behavior-based program for youth aged 8-14 who are having problems with conduct or social difficulties. Structured activities, individual counseling, group therapies, academic enrichment, and participation in community sports and recreational activities foster and support self-understanding and responsible social interaction. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Injury and Violence; Mental Health; Physical Activity
Focus Areas: Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Substance Abuse

The Project:
Garrett, Brian, Melissa and Andrew supported the Northern Home staff in providing structured activities, group problem-solving sessions and academic tutoring. The goals for the summer project were to foster a consistent and safe environment for the children, to act as positive role models, to promote academic responsibility and discipline, and to educate the children on basic health principles. The interns served as tutors in reading, math, and grammar, using worksheets, trivia games, and letter writing to President Obama and various sports figures. The interns also collaborated with the staff at Northern Home to hold group sessions on character building, peer pressure, frustration, positive peer interaction, violence and substance abuse. In addition, they were involved in physical activities like basketball, hockey, golf, baseball, and swimming to promote teamwork and a healthy, active lifestyle. The interns also presented information on cardiovascular health, including a discussion of nutrition, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, and on oral health, which covered tooth decay, and brushing and flossing techniques. Finally, the interns encouraged the youth to participate in a community service project helping the elderly at Germantown House. Garrett said, "This summer program has been both rewarding and challenging, but each and every day I came home with a smile on my face. The children in the Partial Hospitalization Program are amazing individuals who allowed the interns to become a part of their lives and have taught us so much. I am very thankful for becoming a part of the Northern Home family." Brian said, "The BTG program at Northern Home has been an undoubtedly memorable experience. As part of the intern team, I have had the chance to interact with, learn from, and influence the urban youth whom we otherwise would have not known. … The experience has given me a greater appreciation for the people that make up the community." Melissa remarked, "This summer has opened my eyes to the fragility and resiliency of a child's spirit. … The boys at Northern Home have been through struggles that I will never understand in my life, but they are making strides to improve their behavior for a better future. This experience has shown me how important it is for me to be a consistent and positive presence in the lives of others." Andrew commented, "My experience with Northern Home has been an extremely insightful experience. From the weeks spent with the program … I have improved my ability to communicate with and successfully facilitate activities for children who may not have the same advantages as I have."

Back to Top

Establishing a Healthy Mind, Body and Community: The Tennis Experience at Penrose

Student Intern(s):
Nicholas Duca, Drexel University College of Medicine
Alicia Lacovara, Drexel University, School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor(s):
Daniel Taylor, DO, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Ben Hirsh, Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education Center

The Community Site:
Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education (AAYTE) strives to enhance the quality of life of young people through tennis and education. The organization works primarily with children aged 4 to 18 from local underserved areas. Since 2005, Penrose Community Center, located in North Philadelphia, has partnered with AAYTE to provide the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) program enabling youth to participate in tennis instruction and compete with other NJTL community sites in Philadelphia. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators: Physical Activity; Overweight and Obesity; Environmental Quality
Focus Areas: Physical Activity and Fitness; Nutrition and Overweight; Environmental Health; Educational and Community-Based Programs

The Project:
Nicholas and Alicia worked to maintain and facilitate current programs at both Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education (AAYTE) Center and the Penrose Community Center, including National Junior Tennis League (NJTL), Temple Community Gardens, Penrose Afternoon Arts Program and Summer Day Camp. The interns also worked to provide a health curriculum consisting of oral health, nutrition, cardiovascular and pulmonary health, smoking prevention, healthy behaviors to cope with anxiety, and general human anatomy. Alicia reflected, "The primary significance of my experience … has been simply 'getting involved.' This opportunity to connect with neighborhoods within Philadelphia has given me a greater capacity for human interaction and empathy. … I have loved working with the children because along with their youth comes an innocence, and they are still impressionable. While I like to think I had a positive impact in their daily lives by providing structure and encouragement, it has been reciprocal. I, too, have benefited because they opened up to share a small bit of themselves with me. It was a wonderful summer with lots of fun on the tennis court and in the classroom." Nicholas noted, "My summer experience at Penrose Community Center was fun-filled, meaningful, and eye-opening … the work that was done at the community center by interns, volunteers, and camp counselors was a bright light for all of the youth."

 

BTG 20 Years Video
BTG 20th Anniversary Tribute
"My internship … has affected me deeply. I have learned about the complexities of substance abuse and the struggles women face to remain clean. Working with a student from a discipline other than my own has helped me to view health issues from another perspective."
BTG Student Intern

BTG_Trailer
Watch the BTG Film! Click Here
BTG Photo Gallery BTG Video Archives