BTG Hope

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BTG Community Preceptor
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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2017

Children & Youth

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Green and Growing Into Better Providers

Student Interns:
Lauren St. Laurent, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Anny Zhuo, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CPNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Chris Geraghty, Aquinas Center

The Community Site:
Located in South Philadelphia, the Aquinas Center was created and grown through the collaborative efforts of the parishioners of St. Thomas Catholic Church and the South Philly neighborhood. The Aquinas Center implements a variety of activities and programs, ranging from English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to yoga, urban immersion and mural classes, and summer camps such as the Green and Growing Camp. In addition, the Aquinas Center empowers teens through the Youth Voices Program, which seeks to teach teens advocacy, community vocalization and entrepreneurship. The site caters to an extremely culturally diverse population, including Mexicans, Vietnamese, Colombians, Indonesians, Filipinos, Chinese and African-Americans. The center has been recognized by the mayor, the state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its work. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Aquinas Center assisted in the preparation for, and running of, the summer Green and Growing camp for children aged 5 years to 6th grade. At the camp, the interns were in charge of planning and executing garden lessons in the fields of garden creatures, science and cooking. Topics included the water cycle, pollination, seed saving, and planting and harvesting, etc. An entire day was devoted to cardiovascular health, homeroom lessons, garden activities, art projects and gym. Another entire day was devoted to oral health. The interns also managed a health stand at a community fair during the summer, offering blood pressure tips and dental-care samples. The BTG students concluded the internship by leading groups of teens in the Youth Voices camp, teaching them about community organization, advocacy and social justice. The camp included a trip to Baltimore’s Sacred Heart Church and Inner Harbor and a council meeting with community leaders. The final week focused on intense cleanup and organization of the Aquinas Center space, in preparation for the coming year.

Personal Statements:
Anny said, “My Aquinas Center experience has allowed me to experience the social determinants of health and view of a holistic patient that has been impressed upon me in nursing school. The community I worked with made the once-abstract ideals concrete. An environment does more than influence health directly; it influences health behaviors. Apart from the physical manifestations of health, the population showed me the importance of a person’s background, culture and community in impacting life events that ultimately affect health. … We needed to build these children up, to give them the confidence and mental health that would allow them to dream big and reach those dreams. If those basic moral needs and mental needs were not met, physical health could not become a priority. We need to meet people where they are, understand what they can do alone, and bring them to a place where their health will no longer be a luxury, but will be a part of what gives them confidence and potential to empower them in their futures.” Lauren said, “My experience at the Aquinas Center enabled me to invest in and learn from a community that I would not have typically encountered in typical dental curriculum. The children, staff and teenagers of Aquinas demonstrate that wellness, advocacy, community and diversity are not segregated ideas, but rather can work together to ignite a powerful movement. This was inspiring to take back with me to the health care field. I have discovered in a real way that the best care is found in the integration of other disciplines, the understanding of different lived experiences and the promotion of holistic wellness.”

 

How to Take Control of Our Health in the Goodlands

Student Interns:
Anthony Khong, Drexel University College of Medicine
Jeffrey Ramirez, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Jeremiah Goldstein, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Preceptor:
Maribel Arzuaga, BA, Centro Nueva Creación

The Community Site:
Centro Nueva Creación’s Goodlands Summer Camp promotes resilience in young people through educational enrichment and engagement with the arts and Latino cultures. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Environmental Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Centro Nueva Creación is situated in the heart of the Fairhill neighborhood, often referred to as the Badlands. At Centro’s Goodlands Summer Camp, Bridging the Gaps student interns were responsible for the health and nutrition classes. The theme for this year’s summer camp was “My Health, My Family, My Community.” The interns designed and implemented a project-based learning (PBL) program that revolved around the premise of campers taking back control not only of their personal health, but also of the community’s health. Focusing on hygiene, nutrition, cooking, oral health, exercise, the importance of water, the dangers of sugar and bone growth, the lesson plans were geared toward enabling the campers to educate and advance themselves so that they can give back to the community.

Personal Statements:
Anthony said, “The Bridging the Gaps internship at El Centro not only redefined my perspective of the word community but also inspired me to continue to work in underserved communities. Although planning for the camp was long, hot and arduous, my experiences this summer have taught me to be realistic in my goals as an educator and to optimize the time I have with the children. When starting camp, I knew that patience was an important quality when working with these kids, but another characteristic that I believe is more important is resilience. For example, when nothing goes right with the lesson plan and none of the campers are listening, patience is a good quality in the short term in order to maintain composure and calmness, but resilience allows me to continue to work hard on the next lesson plan and try to be a better educator. I know that even after Bridging the Gaps is over, I will always have a family at Centro.” Jeffrey said, “I feel like Goodlands Summer Camp was a good fit for me. I learned about the community and the challenges faced there. As an educator to the children I learned that being flexible and creative with the lesson plans was key. I was able to learn most of the names of the kids and formed close relationships with them and the other staff. Everyone there cares deeply about the community, and their dedication was inspiring.”

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Healthy Choices Youth Summer Camp: A Step to Revitalizing Strawberry Mansion

Student Interns:
Daniel Golden, Drexel University College of Medicine
Lakshana Senthilkumar, Drexel University College of Medicine
Mary-Liz Taylor, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Academic Preceptor:
Stacy Ellen, DO, FAAP, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Preceptor:
Suku John, PhD, East Park Revitalization Alliance

The Community Site:
The 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 5 to 12 from the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the East Park Revitalization Alliance (EPRA) taught campers the importance of making healthy nutritional choices over the course of the summer. Each camper’s family lives in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, where food insecurity is common. Interns facilitated exercise, diet and recreational activities to impart the importance of healthy choices on future medical health.

Personal Statements:
Daniel said, “Working at the Healthy Choices Camp through the East Park Revitalization Alliance has been enjoyable, but also full of challenges. The exposure to families who suffer from generational poverty has not only been an eye-opening experience, but an enriching one. By countering unforeseen issues at camp, I feel more prepared as a future health care provider and an advocate for those that are less fortunate than myself.” Lakshana said, “It was an extremely rewarding and eye-opening experience to work with the kids at the Healthy Choices Youth Summer Camp at Mander Recreation Center through Bridging the Gaps. Not only was I able to get a much better understanding of the community around me, but I was also able to get a glimpse of the social environment that the kids were surrounded by. While I couldn’t empathize with them on certain events, I was able to interact and communicate with them enough to find similarities between our childhoods and establish solid relationships. I sincerely hope that the kids understood at least some of the positive effects of eating healthy and exercising, but I know that I learned so much more than I expected to about Strawberry Mansion and the incredible people who make up that community.” Mary-Liz said, “Bridging the Gaps is one of those experiences that makes you thankful. I am thankful for the people I have met and the lives that have touched my own. I am thankful for the words of wisdom from renowned speakers that have reshaped my view of informed health care. Most of all, I am thankful for a summer full of laughter, sports and health. It is an honor to have been chosen to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

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Who Let the Tots Out?

Student Interns:
Marjorie Lorraine, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Se Young (Steven) Ryoo, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Margaret Szot, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Brian Wogu, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Edna Reddick, Francis J. Myers Recreation Center

The Community Site:
Francis J. Myers Recreation Center, a program of the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department, is a youth achievement center in Southwest Philadelphia offering affordable, fun, safe summer programming for children aged 2 to 15. On an ongoing basis, the recreation center engages in community outreach and support to help improve the lives of the neighborhood residents by providing meeting space for groups, lectures, after-school care and a farmers market, among other things. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns collaborated to organize and implement educational and recreational activities for the tots camp at Francis J. Myers Recreation Center. Topics of wellness educational programming included cardiovascular health, oral health, nutrition and exercise, and weekly science experiments introduced basic scientific concepts, including the scientific method, chemical reactions, the color spectrum and photosynthesis. These programs promoted healthy lifestyle habits and built on the children’s academic knowledge.

Personal Statements:
Marjorie said, “I came into this program feeling that I did not know what to expect, and that was the only correct assumption I made before my first week. At every stage, my preconceptions were challenged and I learned something new. The children challenged me to learn how to give easy-to-follow instructions to an audience that did not always want to listen, to relish the feeling of running freely outdoors, and to look through their eyes when I taught them lessons I had known since before I could remember. They taught me the value of asking questions, apologizing after making a mistake, and greeting new ideas with enthusiasm. I will take all of these lessons with me as I continue to develop into the nurse and the person I wish to be.” Steven said, “Although I had no idea what to expect when I started the program, I think it’s safe to say that I learned a lot about myself and hopefully taught the tots important information about their general health. Myers opened my eyes to another side of Philadelphia that I was never exposed to until this summer. I will use my experiences from BTG in my professional career and strive to reach out to my community in multiple ways.” Maggie said, “I will truly value my BTG experience and believe it will positively influence my career going forward. I am grateful to have been able to work with and learn from the children at Myers Recreation Center and positively impact their summer camp experience while sharing some basic health information. I also appreciated the opportunity to gain new perspectives from working as a team with students from other professions this summer.” Brian said, “When I accepted the Bridging the Gaps program, I was unsure of what type of impact I would be making on the community. I pondered, ‘what effect can I have on a 3-year-old?’ Once we started our community project, I began to understand why the Bridging the Gaps program is so important. Not only does the Myers Recreation Center provide a safe environment for children in the neighborhood, it gives them the opportunity to socialize with their peers and foster ideas through different daily activities. One of my fondest memories was teaching them about the heart. I believe that we built upon their knowledge and made an impact such that they now know what it means to be ‘heart smart.’”

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Creating New Legacies Through Tennis

Student Interns:
Nikki Cali, Drexel University College of Medicine
Bryan Pham, Drexel University College of Medicine
Steven Sander, Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Academic Preceptor:
Susan Brooks, JD, Drexel University, Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Community Preceptor:
Jude Henzy, BA, MA, Legacy Youth Tennis and Education

The Community Site:
Legacy Youth Tennis and Education (LYTE) provides dynamic, group-based tennis instruction to children and adolescents in efforts to develop match play competency. LYTE has several sites in under-resourced communities throughout Philadelphia to provide neighborhood children with a safe space to develop leadership and team-building skills and promote healthy lifestyle choices through physical activity. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education (LYTE) worked at Hunting Park and Pleasant Playground assisting with tennis instruction for children aged 7 to 13. They also helped with other camp programs, such as swimming, soccer, literacy improvement, health education and environmental awareness. In addition to aiding with structured activities, interns served as mentors and positive influences while advocating for site resources and the overall well-being of the campers. Working with the same children over the course of the summer enabled the interns to forge bonds of respect and trust within the community. They were able to build on interpersonal communication skills while gaining insight into the communities they will serve in the future.

Personal Statements:
Nikki said, “Working with the children at Hunting Park this summer truly allowed me to get to know them on a deeper level. I was not only able to see physical improvements in their tennis abilities, but I also learned about their families, friends and communities that help shape them as individuals. Through this experience, I realized the importance and need to advocate for these children, as my actions have the ability to create changes that impact their lives.” Bryan said, “Working with these children was a profound and unexpected journey for me this summer. I went into this program expecting just to teach basic tennis skills to a group of kids for the whole summer, but the experience itself has taught me so much more. Bridging the Gaps enabled me to learn and observe the way in which children of this generation interact, behave and learn as well as how to effectively communicate and work with them on a closer level than I ever have before. Camp is ending, and I can’t help but be torn that I’ll be leaving my children so soon. However, I know that I’ll carry all the lessons and skills that I have learned from them into my career and through my life. I am optimistic that they will carry some of what they learned into the future as well.” Steven said, “The sport of tennis had such a significant impact on my life growing up, and this summer it was a joy to help teach this amazing sport to the next generation of energetic Philadelphians. There are so many lessons that tennis can teach—from teamwork, coordination and endurance to respect, etiquette and sportsmanship—all which can be applied to many aspects of one’s life. My goal going into this summer was to not only help the fantastic staff of the Legacy Youth Tennis and Education Center provide a fun camp environment for the kids of North Philadelphia, but also to impart upon the campers the larger implications and lessons that come from the sport of tennis. I was so glad that the LYTE campers I worked with throughout the summer responded with enthusiasm to the sport as well as the lessons it teaches, and I hope that tennis will have the same impact on them that it had on me. Going forward, I am eager to see how the Hunting Park campers grow and progress in their lives, and I sincerely wish that they achieve success and continue the tradition of teaching this amazing activity to the next generation.”

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Spring Garden Academy Summer Camp

Student Interns:
Annabelle Abdo, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Sharon Longo, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Denise Curran, MS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pat A. Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Rebecca Doty, Spring Garden Academy
Dionna Tillery, Spring Garden Academy
Candace Wegner, Spring Garden Academy
Se’Mona Williams, Spring Garden Academy

The Community Site:
Next Generation Ministries is a nonprofit organization that partners with Highway Tabernacle Church, Resurrection Life Church and other urban churches. These sites target at-risk urban children and youth by providing year-round schooling and day camp at Spring Garden Academy (SGA). Every Thursday and Friday evening, the faculty and volunteers dedicate their time to host Family Nights. These provide food, resources, clothing, and games and activities for the children of the community to enjoy. SGA empowers students to follow Jesus and utilize these ministries to build leaders within the community. Some of SGA’s main focuses are to decrease the school-to-prison pipeline, prevent early families and eliminate violence in the community. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Next Generation Ministries engaged the campers in a cardiovascular health activity to get their heart rates up and teach them the importance of exercise to keep their hearts healthy. The interns took the campers on multiple field trips to explore Philadelphia, including the Mütter Museum, the Mann Center, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Eakins Oval and Philly Cam. Through the help of Penn Dental, the interns provided the campers with dental health supplies and educated them about oral health. Every Thursday, the interns went on a field trip with the campers to Camp Linden to explore the outdoors, go swimming and learn about nature and gardening. Throughout the seven weeks, the interns planned a health and wellness fair for the community and invited multiple vendors to attend, including a dietician, community resources, PCOM medical students, the local fire department and many others.

Personal Statements:
Annabelle said, “During my seven weeks with Bridging the Gaps at Next Generation Ministries, it has been amazing to see the transition the campers took in trusting us and learning to respect us. I truly looked forward to seeing the children every day, and I hope by the end of the seven weeks they saw Sharon and I as role models. We were able to share our medical knowledge with them and hopefully open their eyes to working in the medical field or obtaining some sort of further education. While most of these children have been through some sort of trauma in their lives, they were some of the most resilient youth I have ever encountered. I will never forget this experience, and I hope I have touched the life of at least one of these campers.” Sharon said, “Working with Next Generation Ministries has been an enlightening yet challenging experience. While I have worked with children in the past, I have never met a more resilient, open-hearted group of kids who expected Annabelle and me to earn their trust as well as educate them on many facets of health and well-being. These kids and their positive energy made this summer program incredibly fulfilling.”

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Calling All Superheroes!

Student Interns:
Carissa Cicchinelli, Drexel University College of Medicine
Elizabeth Kwak, Drexel University College of Medicine
Ryan Rothman, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Leslie Everts, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Kristyn Y. Brier, MS, North Light Community Center

The Community Site:
Part of the Greater Philadelphia Federation of Settlements, North Light has been serving the Manayunk neighborhood since 1938. North Light Community Center is a place where children come to learn and play, where their parents come for advice and assistance, and where neighbors meet to discuss community issues and forge solutions. North Light serves all members of the community. Programs include an after-school program, a food cupboard, a computer lab and a summer camp. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns spent the summer providing enrichment activities for the children in the Manayunk community at North Light Community Center. During the summer camp, the interns led health-related lessons for each age group (3 to 5, 6 and 7, 8 and 9, and 10 to 12). These lessons included sunscreen awareness, germs, nutrition, fitness and more. When not teaching, the interns supervised the younger age groups alongside the other counselors. By the end of the summer, the interns gained valuable insight on the impact that North Light has on the families it serves.

Personal Statements:
Carissa said, “Working for North Light this summer has been both a rewarding and challenging experience. Spending my time with children from diverse backgrounds and home lives has increased my awareness of the varying needs and behaviors of each child. After this experience, I have become more understanding and patient with children who have faced adversity.” Elizabeth said, “This summer working with the camp at North Light Community Center has been an eye-opening experience into the social determinants that influence one’s health. As the majority of my time was spent supervising, we had the intimate experience of understanding circumstantial situations that surrounded behaviors. Professionally, this insight will help me care for the patient as a person and not merely a disease to fix. Personally, this summer has been a confirmation of my interest in the field of pediatrics, which I will pursue in the future.” Ryan said, “Throughout this summer I have had the opportunity to work with Bridging the Gaps as an intern at the North Light Community Center. I was very fortunate to be given this position, as I have not had many chances to work directly with children in the past, and it was very interesting to hear their perspectives on important issues. This experience has helped me realize the challenges that the people in the Manayunk community face, and makes me wonder about other communities and what they have to go through. I am excited to use this knowledge in the future as a doctor so I can tailor my care to suit the needs of each community.”

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Promoting Health Through Human Connection

Student Interns:
Pinting Chen, Drexel University College of Medicine
Galya Kolodner, Temple University, School of Nursing
Marlee Milkis, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Janice Nieves, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts and Therapy

Academic Preceptors:
Tariem Burroughs, MSEd, MSODL, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Flossie Ierardi, MM, MT-BC, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts Therapy

Community Preceptor:
Kevin Weber, Northern Children’s Services

The Community Site:
The mission of Northern Children’s Services (NCS) is to build the self-confidence and resiliency of at-risk children and their families. Two ways they do this are through the partial hospitalization program and the wellness and resiliency program. For youth aged 8 to 14, both programs offer nonresidential, behavioral- based therapeutic services. The programs foster self-understanding and positive social interactions through structured activities, individual and group therapy, academic enrichment and therapeutic recreation. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Northern Children’s Services modeled positive relationships through interactions with each other, NCS staff and children. They provided academic support to prepare the children for the coming school year and engaged them in health-related education activities. The interns fostered emotional expression through the arts, primarily in the form of music and dance. In addition, the interns developed personal and professional skills, built relationships with members of the Philadelphia community, and gained a deeper understanding of the connection between physical and mental health.

Personal Statements:
Pinting said, “This experience has truly opened my eyes to the fact that every individual has a unique story to tell, if only we are willing to listen. My experiences at Northern Children’s Services have given me the opportunity to better understand the impact of social determinants of health on this population of underserved individuals. During my time at this site, I had the fortune of tutoring and mentoring these children, many of whom have come from troubled backgrounds. The interactions I have had in the last six weeks have demonstrated to me the ever-present resilience necessary to navigate the many difficulties, of which education is an example, faced by this population. They have also instilled within me a clearer awareness of the factors that play into one’s health, knowledge I know will help me to better serve others in the future.” Galya said, “As a Bridging the Gaps intern at Northern Children’s Services I learned so much more than I ever thought I could learn in a summer. Northern Children’s Services uses a compassionate approach to help these kids, who may be struggling, go towards the direction of their future. Throughout the rest of my clinical experiences, and even my career as a nurse, I will take the opportunities I had to help me strengthen my compassion when holding someone’s hand, giving them an injection or even when taking vitals on a scared patient. I learned how important it is just for someone to be there.” Marlee said, “Participating in the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program was truly the perfect way to spend my first summer as a medical student! My time spent at Northern Children’s Services has renewed my passion for working with children, and my time spent working alongside aspiring health professionals from various disciplines has renewed my confidence in the future of health care. This summer, I was reminded of the lasting effects that even a single conversation can have—though it may only take an hour, taking the time to explain to a child something as simple as the difference between singular and plural could make a difference in that child’s academic career. Having the opportunity to step away from the structured, stressful environment of school helped to remind me of my priorities as a developing student physician.” Janice said, “The time I’ve spent at Northern Children’s Services has been an experience that I’ll carry with me into my career. It’s been so inspiring to see the impact of a supportive, nurturing environment on the lives of the children. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to build relationships with them, witness how resilient they are and watch them grow more each day.”

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People’s Emergency Center: Guiding West Philadelphia’s Cultural Renaissance

Student Interns:
Charles Addo-Yobo, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Sahlia Joseph-Pauline, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Samuel Orr, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Denise Curran, MS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pat A. Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Cassandra Green, People’s Emergency Center
Zhara Greenidge, People’s Emergency Center

The Community Site:
The People’s Emergency Center began as a shelter directly providing for and accommodating homeless young mothers and their children. As time went on, their program site grew to include more community outreach. They currently function as a Community Development Corporation (CDC) providing community outreach ventures, including a food cupboard program, uGO (children’s activity organization), environmental services, Action for Early Learning and digital media. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Health Communication; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at People’s Emergency Center worked with the uGO (children’s activity organization) subdivision, a program that provides weekly health education presentations to elementary school students as well as physical activities. Through the BTG dental mentors the interns were able to provide oral health care products to each of the PEC subdivisions and orchestrate a field trip for the staff and summer employment students to visit the Mütter Museum.

Personal Statements:
Charles said, “Working through BTG at the PEC site, we were provided the opportunity to engage in community enrichment events amongst the underserved populations. This is a demographic that is often overlooked. However, we were able to ‘bridge the gap’ between the lower income communities and needed resources. Regardless of what field of medicine I may find myself in, I know for certain that I want to work with the underserved community. With that said, I am grateful that I had the chance to interact with such a demographic in the capacity that I have over this past summer.” Sahlia said, “As future physicians, I believe that it is extremely important to be immersed in the communities in which we will ultimately medically serve. This will allow us to connect with our patients on a more personal level, and allow us to better understand our patients, as well as be familiar with resources available in the areas our patients live. Currently … when volunteering at various community health fairs, I would feel not as resourceful for the patients being seen. Participating in Bridging the Gaps has given me the opportunity to become more aware of the resources available in West Philadelphia for my future patients as well as myself.” Sam said, “Through our activities educating the youth, Bridging the Gaps has taught me the responsibility I have to guide those around me. Through the medical education we receive at PCOM, we are entrusted with a wealth of knowledge that others often do not have the opportunity to be exposed to. In my time with Bridging the Gaps, I have come to understand that this knowledge should not simply be used to benefit my career as a future physician, but in addition, should be disseminated to my neighbors and colleagues in a way that promotes awareness and a stronger community.”

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Building Discipline and Empowering Youth Through Rowing

Student Interns:
Michelle Basilious, Drexel University College of Medicine
Catherine Guariglia, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Daniel Taylor, DO, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Preceptor:
Terry Dougherty, MEd, Philadelphia City Rowing

The Community Site:
Philadelphia City Rowing (PCR) seeks to empower local public school students through the sport of rowing, which teaches discipline, perseverance and teamwork, reinforcing invaluable lessons that extend into all areas of life. By increasing access, affordability and diversity, PCR aims to promote the sport of rowing in the United States and add depth to the athletic pool. All Philadelphians should have access to the natural waterways and the rich rowing history of their city. The program seeks to establish a public school rowing team that is competitive locally, regionally and nationally. PCR uses competitive rowing as a vehicle to improve the health, well-being, self-confidence and academic success of Philadelphia’s public school students. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Health Communication; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness

The Project:
During the first two weeks of camp at Philadelphia City Rowing (PCR), the Bridging the Gaps student interns taught middle and high school campers how to swim, providing them with a lifesaving skill and giving them more confidence on the water. Throughout the rest of the summer, the interns led team-building activities, warm-ups and mobility sessions and taught campers to row on the ergometer and then on the Schuylkill River. The interns also gave weekly presentations on nutrition and healthy eating habits for athletes, oral health, and effective, safe exercise practices. Additionally, the interns prepared a comprehensive guide on the proper use, consequences and relevance of social media in today’s world, which was presented to a group of current PCR members. The PowerPoint presentation served as a culminating project to be used as a teaching tool for future PCR rowers.

Personal Statements:
Michelle said, “Coaching such a diverse group of campers challenged me to learn how to engage everyone in an inclusive and respectful way. The camp was framed around the sport of rowing but truly fostered a sense of teamwork, grit, social and health awareness, discipline and athleticism among the campers. The students impressed me with their resilience and focus, learning a new sport in only 1 to 2 weeks while building determination and goal-setting skills. In the same way, I hope to empower patients in committing to their health goals by highlighting the resilience they have shown for their health and in other parts of their life.” Catherine said, “Being a rower myself, I recognize the unique impact the sport can have on an individual. Rowing imparts important lessons about teamwork, confidence, hard work and leadership. Throughout my time at PCR, I was able to not only witness but also actively participate in the development of these characteristics in the athletes we worked with. I was constantly surprised and inspired by the campers’ willingness, excitement and determination to try something new and push themselves past their comfort zones, both physically and mentally.”

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Smith Memorial Playground: Exercises in Unrestricted Free Play

Student Interns:
Kyle Coupe, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Chinwendu Korie, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Austin Schatzman, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Denise Curran, MS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pat A. Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Kate Zmich, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse

The Community Site:
Smith Memorial Playground was established in 1899. After the loss of their young son, Richard and Sarah Smith erected the playground in his memory, so that children would have a safe and inviting play space, free of charge. Smith’s mission includes providing opportunities for unstructured creative play for children. Smith Memorial Playground offers 6.5 acres of play space, which includes a playhouse for indoor fun and a plethora of unique outdoor equipment for a variety of ages. One of the community’s favorites is the wooden slide, which has been around since the early 20th century and has captivated generations of children. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse were dedicated to bringing Smith’s message of unstructured free play to the children of the Strawberry Mansion community in an effort to promote healthy development. The interns encouraged the children to do, paint and create whatever they envisioned in order to develop confidence, creativity and grit. The interns initiated play through various open-ended activities such as flag building, play-dough making, cardboard creations, sidewalk painting, salt art, nature painting, group play, water activities and even celebrating International Mud Day. In the process, they strengthened the relationship between Smith playground and the surrounding communities, in order to better serve this historically underserved population.

Personal Statements:
Kyle said, “Over the course of the summer I learned the importance of free play in the proper development of children. It was also eye-opening to learn about the everyday challenges that patients in low-income areas face. It was uplifting to see how the members of these communities make the most out of their environment and is something I will take with me in the future.” Chinwe said, “This past summer I learned the meaning of unrestricted free play. Smith Playground prides itself on allowing children to be free and make their own mistakes while playing. It fosters personal development, growth and allows children to learn right from wrong on their own, without the interference from parents. I think this is very important because it breeds fearless, independent leaders for our future.” Austin said, “This summer taught me a lot about the role of play in development. The staff at Smith Playground really embodies and believes in unrestricted free play as a cornerstone of a well-developing child. We discussed the ways it relates to countless scientific principles in totally unforced and natural ways. This experience has really shaped my understanding of what activities can and will benefit children and has opened my eyes to the importance of all aspects of play.”

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Teaching STEM at Patterson Summer Camp

Student Interns:
Natalie Delgado, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Youn-Young (Janice) Hur, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Austin McHenry, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Jessie Zhou, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, PHDHP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor:
Lorraine Thomas, Southwest Community Development Corporation

The Community Site:
The Southwest Community Development Corporation, locally referred to as Southwest CDC, tackles issues facing low-income Southwest Philadelphia residents through services such as utility, housing/foreclosure and employment counseling; family services; community engagement; economic development planning; and a community newspaper, the Globe Times. Since 1999 Southwest CDC has planned and organized a free summer camp for children at the John M. Patterson Elementary School. The seven-week day camp provides free educational and recreational activities and nutritious breakfasts and lunches for the campers. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Heart Disease and Stroke; Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked in collaboration with the Southwest Community Development Corporation staff and the camp leaders to provide meaningful and educational activities to participants at the Patterson Summer Camp. Students (from kindergarten through 6th grade) at the summer camp met with the interns twice a week to learn about human anatomy and physiology, cardiovascular health, personal hygiene, oral health, nutrition and other STEM topics. These lessons were taught through interactive activities and hands-on demonstrations to engage the students and make the lessons more memorable.

Personal Statements:
Natalie said, “Participating in Bridging the Gaps at Patterson School over the past six weeks has been an impactful and memorable experience. Having the opportunity to interact with children in an underserved community has opened my eyes to the struggles they face in regards to their diets, health and education. The challenges we faced as a team allowed us to learn how to present our topics in a way that could benefit them most, and allowed us to learn from the students as well. Overall, it was fascinating to learn how the disparities in Philadelphia affect children in particular, and I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them.” Janice said, “Although our time at Patterson School was short, a genuine bond has formed between the students and the BTG interns. Despite socioeconomic differences, as well as a lack of access to STEM curriculum exposure, these children proved that the quality of education measures their success/growth. The students expressed genuine curiosity and a desire to retain the materials that were given to them. Even with limited funding and supplies, we learned to improvise, as well as adapt our lesson plans in accordance to our allotted budget. The children’s determination to pursue future careers in nursing, dental and medicine is truly inspirational and hopeful for the West Philadelphia community.” Austin said, “Interning at Patterson School with Bridging the Gaps provided me an eye-opening and rewarding summer experience. Interacting with the children provided insight into the health disparities and obstacles that face the surrounding communities. The students’ inquisitive nature and willingness to learn demonstrates their resilience and motivation to transcend the challenges facing them.” Jessie said, “My experience with BTG this summer has been immensely rewarding and thought-provoking. Through developing and executing two lesson plans each week, I learned not only how to make important topics like oral health, nutrition, exercise and hygiene exciting and memorable for the young students at Patterson, but also how to be adaptive and responsive to the needs, interests and knowledge levels of the students. In interacting with the students at Patterson over the course of the program, I realized and confronted my own unconscious biases. Finally, through both the interdisciplinary nature of our intern team and the weekly BTG presentations/small group sessions, I learned about how the different roles of various health professions can work together to provide more comprehensive and integrative care.”

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The Carnival Is in Town!

Student Interns:
Esieza Braimah, Drexel University College of Medicine
Jung (Grace) Chio, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Music Therapy and Counseling

Academic Preceptor:
Katie McPeak, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Preceptors:
Katie Feehan, MPH, CHES, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, FAAP, Drexel University College of Medicine, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

The Community Site:
The Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CCYSHCN) of St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children provides coordinated, comprehensive, family-centered medical care that improves access to services, community resources and advocacy to ensure that children obtain the support they need while promoting their independence. The CCYSHCN’s medical home model effectively provides resources and addresses the barriers that would otherwise prevent a patient and his or her family from living out a healthy life. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities Conditions; Health Communication; Infant and Child Health

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at CCYSHCN helped plan the seventh annual Back-to-School Carnival for the North Philadelphia community. The carnival is a fun and educational event that provides health resources to community members. Children who attended the event received free backpacks with school supplies for the upcoming school year. Student interns organized donors, food, health vendors and volunteers for the carnival.

Personal Statements:
Esieza said, “At the Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, I learned about the financial, political and organizational skills that are needed in order to plan such a large event for the North Philadelphia community. Working with another BTG student who was studying a very different professional field was great because we were able to mesh our different skill sets and ideas. I was able to learn a lot from my fellow BTG student and our community preceptors. Being in the hospital environment also helped me network with doctors and other health care professionals. Even after the BTG program is over, I hope to remain involved in CCYSHCN by helping with future fund-raisers and events.” Grace said, “Through my BTG CHIP experience at CCYSHCN, I have enhanced my time management, organizational and interpersonal skills. Working with another BTG student in a different discipline allowed me opportunities to discuss and learn from different perspectives. Also, working as a team with various staff members allowed me to gain cooperative skills and responsibilities. Moreover, meetings with our academic and community preceptors were encouraging, motivating and supportive. I now have a better understanding of a children’s hospital setting that will possibly contribute to my future career path in the health care field.”

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Utilizing Soccer to Develop a Growth Mind-Set in Underserved Youth

Student Interns:
Taylor LaRose, Drexel University College of Medicine
Shane Mealy, Drexel University College of Medicine
Joseph Raco, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Leon McCrea II, MD, MPH, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Samantha Swerdloff, MCRP, Starfinder Foundation

The Community Site:
The Starfinder Foundation’s goal is to develop and enhance the personal growth of an underserved population in Philadelphia. This is accomplished through soccer and learning experiences designed to engage, inspire and motivate youth. The Starfinder Foundation envisions a better future for children and strives to help them reach their aspirations. Programs include four weeks of summer camp and a 27-week senior leadership experience during the school year. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness

The Project:
At the Starfinder Foundation, the Bridging the Gaps student interns served as role models for high school counselors and youth campers. Using soccer as a medium, the interns helped foster personal development and leadership qualities as well as preparedness for secondary education and future professions. Additionally, the interns served as a source of positivity and praise for youth campers who may have faced adverse childhood experiences. Working at Starfinder helped the interns better understand the community they will be serving in the future.

Personal Statements:
Taylor said, “My experience as a BTG intern at Starfinder made for both a rewarding and memorable summer. Not only was I able to gain a better understanding of the needs within the Philadelphia community, but I also was able to connect with future leaders by playing soccer. I personally attribute much of the person I have become to the mentorship and resilience I developed through soccer. Therefore, I feel incredibly lucky to have been part of such an amazing program that realizes the countless benefits the sport can teach. The challenges this summer presented also allowed me to become more aware of the struggles others are facing and gave me an opportunity to learn from the youth who I may be serving in the future.” Shane said, “Bridging the Gaps has had a profound impact on my personal and professional development. I gained an important new perspective on the Philadelphia community that will help me better understand the people that I will be serving in the future. Interacting with kids from unimaginable situations allowed me to grow more as an empathic person. My summer experience with Bridging the Gaps will help me go above and beyond for my future patients.” Joseph said, “My BTG CHIP experience has allowed me to learn a great deal about perspective and empathy while also motivating me to continue my learning and community service. The past seven weeks have opened my eyes to the inequities that surround us, but rather than dampen my spirit, it has allowed me to see how large of an impact small efforts may have. I will call upon my summer experience often in order to remain empathetic to the situations of others and to remind myself that the efforts of a few can inspire great change in the community. I have no doubt that my time with Bridging the Gaps will make me a better physician—and person—in the future.”

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Eat Right, Be Bright

Student Interns:
Hannah Kim, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Micah MacAskill, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Krishna Patel, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptor:
Tariem Burroughs, MSEd, MSODL, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Charmaine Sudler Milligan, To Our Children’s Future With Health, Inc.

The Community Site:
To Our Children’s Future With Health, Inc. (TOCFWH), is a community-based nonprofit agency established in 1992. Its mission is to empower youth, adults and communities toward healthy living by providing comprehensive community health and education services. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns led health and nutrition activities through experimental demonstrations and making a healthy-eating poster. They also helped empower the children to make career and life choices by acting as facilitators in the MicroSociety program. The interns encouraged educational development through participation with the Philadelphia-wide Read by 4th program. Through KidsPeace, an organization focused on mental health, the interns also enabled participating youth to develop skills in conflict resolution, reducing interpersonal violence and overcoming challenges.

Personal Statements:
Hannah said, “My summer with Bridging the Gaps has been more of a community immersion experience rather than just a community health internship. Through my time with To Our Children’s Future with Health at the Bethune Safe Haven Camp, I have seen the smiling and sometimes frowning faces of the youth of North Philadelphia. Now as I walk around my campus, I will always wonder, “Am I passing a relative of one of my students?” and I will always be keeping an eye out to see if I recognize any familiar faces from this summer. I now feel as though I have a more intimate and meaningful relationship with the community surrounding Temple University. Through my experience with BTG, I strive to develop an open mind when encountering others and remember that this person may be having a bad day but it does not mean they are a bad person. I also want to remember how much my own actions affect other people and that both positivity and humility can show respect and trustworthiness.” Micah said, “Through this experience, I have learned the importance of engaging the community in order to promote long-term wellness. As I enter my second year of medical school, I will strive to remember that true wellness requires an approach that addresses the whole person—from educational opportunities to affordable access to fruits and vegetables and beyond. Only once adequate social support has been gained will patients be empowered to live their lives to the fullest. I will remember the smiling faces at TOCFWH and their stories long into the future.” Krishna said, “Bridging the Gaps was a unique, eye-opening and humbling experience. Through my daily interactions with the students I’ve learned a great amount of patience and authoritative skills to help me become a better health care professional. Working with limited resources to plan creative activities and instill excitement about science in growing minds was both challenging and rewarding. It has been a very insightful summer teaching and learning from children, whether it was healthy-eating activities or field trips. I feel grateful for this opportunity and will carry experiences from TOCFWH throughout my career.”

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Growing a Better Community

Student Interns:
Lily Black, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Julie Holmsley, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Academic Preceptors:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Caryn Johnson, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Patrick McManus, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Community Preceptor:
Noelle Warford, LSW, MSW, Executive Director, Urban Tree Connection

The Community Site:
Urban Tree Connection (UTC) works with residents of the West Philadelphia Haddington neighborhood to develop community-driven greening and gardening projects on vacant land. Through land revitalization, UTC helps residents become strong leaders, fosters deep community cohesion and creates livable communities. UTC’s goals include providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the food desert areas of West Philadelphia. Members of the community can get involved by allowing some of their land to be used as gardens and helping maintain the sites. The organization also tries to spread information about sustainability, including a neighborhood compost program. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Environmental Health; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns participated in community outreach and advocacy for Urban Tree Connection by creating and distributing flyers to members in the community each week. The interns also designed lessons and activities for the afternoon children’s program each week, teaching nutrition and promoting heart-healthy behaviors. The interns assisted each week with the Teen Apprenticeship Program by teaching teamwork, nutrition, community sustainability, leadership and personal development. Last, the interns worked in the community garden with both programs to perform and teach farm maintenance skills and harvest produce.

Personal Statements:
Lily said, “When I began my BTG summer internship at Urban Tree Connection, I thought I was just going to learn about urban farming and agriculture. I did learn how to harvest chard, herbs and turnips and how to seed and thin beet plants, but I also learned much more about the Haddington West Philadelphia neighborhood and the effects of poverty and racism on this community. This summer helped deepen my understanding of the impact that our society can have on all people and also helped me gain a broader sense of what is social justice in medicine and health care. Through my daily interactions with the teen apprentices or the weekly weeding of the garden beds, I appreciated more and more what it means to be a part of a community, a neighborhood, a farm.” Julie said, “My BTG summer internship at UTC taught me several valuable life lessons. I learned many farming skills, such as how to harvest kale and other vegetables, how to trellis viny plants, and how to deter pests from eating your plants without using chemicals! I learned how to identify and use common ‘weeds’ that grow in the area for both eating and medicinal purposes. I also learned new techniques on how to cook healthy and nutritious meals. This summer experience taught me some of the social injustices that people of color experience daily, how these unfair institutions were created, and ways the community can lift its members to support one another.”

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It Takes a Village

Student Interns:
Kristina Orbe, Drexel University College of Medicine
Arman Terzian, Drexel University College of Medicine
Aditi Trivedi, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Academic Preceptor:
Angela Colistra, PhD, LPC, CAADC, CCS, Drexel University, Behavioral Health Counseling

Community Preceptor:
Mike O’Bryan, Village of Arts and Humanities

The Community Site:
The mission of the Village of Arts and Humanities is to support the voices and aspirations of the community by providing opportunities for self-expression rooted in art and culture. The Village inspires people to be agents of positive change through programs that encompass arts and culture, engage youth, revitalize community, preserve heritage and respect the environment. Various free arts classes are provided to adults and youth in the community, offering a safe place to be expressive as well as providing local youth options for professional pursuits in the future. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at The Village of Arts and Humanities were primarily responsible for co-facilitating classes, coordinating activities during transition times between classes and serving on the cultural support team in the planning of camp activities/culture. Additional responsibilities included administrative tasks, stewarding the indoor/outdoor camp spaces and supervising kids on field trips. Separately, the interns utilized their backgrounds in the health sciences to develop and administer a heart health and nutrition curriculum that included a small group workshop and several nutrition-based activities during transition times between classes for both young children and adolescents.

Personal Statements:
Kristina said, “This internship with The Village of Arts and Humanities has been my first experience building relationships with young children and adolescents, and I have been struck by the tenacity and grace with which they move through their worlds. I have been able to break through some of my own preconceptions around working with young people, and these kids have encouraged my own growth in removing my ego from our relationships. Part of what drives my passion in a career in medicine is a commitment to social justice, and I feel very fortunate to have had the space to explore what social justice looks like through the eyes of adolescents and how issues of development, race, sexuality and education intersect through different artistic mediums. As someone who intends to work with children and young adults in her professional career, I feel that my time at The Village has been crucial to my personal and professional formation when it comes to understanding the worldview of adolescents and holding in reverence their unlimited potential.” Arman said, “What have I taken away? The BTG CHIP experience offered a holistic introduction to both the research behind social determinants of health and the lived experiences of young children and adolescents managing to thrive in distressed communities. The Wednesday symposiums showed me that it’s very possible for MDs to dedicate their careers to social justice work and advocacy. My time at The Village of Arts and Humanities gave me a window into young children and adolescents’ lengthy, rocky trust-building process. I’ve gotten to watch different teachers facilitate classes and carry the parts of their classroom presence and technique into my relationships with people more broadly. I’ve gotten to sit in on a class that asked kids to think about the current state of social equality in Philadelphia and witness what kind of change is important to them in the future. I have always believed humans have an innate drive towards self-actualization—these aforementioned individual lessons and the entire collective experience have given me the experiential data needed to confirm the assumption I have long carried with me about our human nature.” Aditi said, “For someone pursuing a career in creative arts therapy and looking forward to working with a developmental framework, the internship served to confirm my conviction that arts can intertwine beautifully with various interventions. The internship also allowed me to engage in art for the sake of art-making and acquire skills in fields that I had not been exposed to in the past. Additionally, I gained an insight into the administrative tasks and deliberate planning that ensure a smooth execution of any activity. Last, but not least, I had the opportunity to meet students with an immense amount of potential and artistic talent that they can tap into. I will cherish my interactions with the students and am grateful that these connections were facilitated through communal engagement in art-making.”

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Women Against Abuse: Young Survivors Camp

Student Interns:
Meghan Eisold, Drexel University College of Medicine
Geoffrey Gao, Drexel University College of Medicine
Kelsey Jordan, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Olivia Kirby, Drexel University, Dornsife School of Public Health

Academic Preceptors:
Michele Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Sandra Wolf, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Arlene Malcom-Bell, PhD, Women Against Abuse
Maria Tate, BA, Women Against Abuse

The Community Site:
Women Against Abuse (WAA) provides services to victims of domestic violence, including emergency housing for battered women and their children, legal services, hotline counseling, education and training, and advocacy. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Women Against Abuse worked in a summer camp for children aged 6 to 14 living in the WAA emergency and transitional housing program. The goal of the project was to create a learning environment that allowed the children to build self-confidence and prepare them for the upcoming academic year. The interns created health education lessons for the children focusing on oral health, cardiovascular health, personal hygiene and nutrition. They helped prepare the children academically for the upcoming school year through math and literacy activities. To encourage physical activity and exploration, they escorted the children on field trips to the zoo, the Franklin Institute and the park for swimming. The interns strived to create a healthy environment where the children were safe to have fun and learn.

Personal Statements:
Meghan said, “My experience at WAA this summer has been extremely valuable and rewarding. I have enjoyed the opportunity to give back to my community and learn more about the socioeconomic issues affecting the community of North Philadelphia. In addition, I have been able to learn more about intimate partner violence (IPV) and see firsthand how children who have witnessed IPV can be affected. I hope this will allow me to be more sensitive to and aware of these issues as a future physician. I have also enjoyed working with my fellow BTG interns and learning more about their different educational pathways and professional specialties.” Geoffrey said, “I am thankful for having the opportunity to work in the community and engage with the children at the Women Against Abuse safe havens. I learned more about how intimate partner violence can affect a household and how serious and prevalent this problem is. I had a blast working with the children this summer, and I also learned more about how violence can affect their lives. I feel that this summer camp provided a great outlet for these children to explore their interests, and gave them a safe place to feel comfortable and nurtured.” Kelsey said, “Participating in Bridging the Gaps has enhanced my knowledge of the Philadelphia community and the factors that impact the lives of many of its residents. Interning at Women Against Abuse was an enlightening and humbling experience. The lens in which I view others and myself has shifted due to working and learning alongside the women and children currently residing at WAA’s safe havens. I have developed a deeper understanding of diversity, health and community.” Olivia said, “My experience at WAA has reiterated to me how vital social determinants are in creating quality of life. My time with the youth I worked with was short, but the impact they’ve had on me in that short period of time is profound. Every interaction I’ve had over these past weeks will help shape my views on policies and practices that may affect vulnerable populations. I hope I can make the world a slightly better place for them.”

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