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

Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2018

Children & Youth

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Green and Growing: Teaching Sustainability and Fostering the Development of Health-Conscious Children and Families

Student Interns:
Terry Chien, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Lara Roseto, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

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, Camp Director and Resident Adviser

The Community Site:
Located in South Philadelphia, the Aquinas Center was created and grown through the collaborative efforts of the parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and neighborhood partners. The Aquinas Center implements a variety of activities and programs, ranging from English as a second language (ESL) classes and yoga to the Green and Growing Summer Camp. The site caters to an extremely culturally diverse population, including Mexicans, Vietnamese, Colombians, Indonesians, Filipinos and African-Americans. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Adolescent Health; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Aquinas Center assisted with the Green and Growing Summer Camp, an educational and extracurricular summer program for children in kindergarten through seventh grade. The interns conducted the health and wellness program of the camp, focusing on cultivating awareness of various health-related topics. The interns coordinated interactive projects to promote knowledge of nutrition, heart health, oral health, mental health and appropriate practices to ensure health and safety in a variety of settings. The interns also provided outreach to the children’s parents and families by setting up a health information table that offered resources about many prevalent health concerns, including hypertension, diabetes, nutritional awareness, oral hygiene and smoking cessation.

Intern Statements:
Terry Chien: “Working at the Aquinas Center as a Bridging the Gaps intern allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the importance of community health awareness. The weekly seminars presented a new perspective on the social determinants of health and exposed me to the issues that were still occurring in the community. It was a rewarding experience being able to offer a stimulating and educational camp experience for the children, and it confirmed my intentions to commit my professional future to promoting community health awareness.”

Lara Roseto: “My experience partnering with the Aquinas Center has enabled me to engage with a community of compassionate people from diverse backgrounds who I might not have had the opportunity to work with in the dental settings I have been in thus far. In my efforts to promote health-conscious behavior in my students and the Aquinas Center community, I have learned intimately about their lived experiences and the importance of community, advocacy and diversity; I hope to continue my partnership with the Aquinas Center in the fall. These invaluable and diverse experiences will help shape my future work as a dental professional and my interdisciplinary work in the healthcare field.”

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Our Health and Our Community

Student Interns:
Ashlyn Brown, Drexel University College of Medicine
Miguel Donneyz, 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):
Health Communication; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Centro Nueva Creación’s Goodlands Summer Camp led yoga, mindfulness and cooking/nutrition sessions for each age group every week. Campers significantly improved their yoga skills and became better able to manage their stress via mindfulness. The campers also became more confident using kitchen utensils and experienced a sense of confidence as they were permitted to cook in ways they might not have experienced before. As they cooked, they learned about the nutritional status of their foods and how to make healthy food choices. Each day, campers spent an hour at the pool, where water safety and swimming improvement was emphasized. Every Friday, the interns led campers on fun and educational field trips, including to Neshaminy State Park, Cape May beach and the Baltimore Aquarium.

Intern Statements:
Ashlyn Brown: “Starting at the Goodlands Camp, I had the notion that I would come and teach the students about health topics, when in reality they ended up teaching me far more than I ever could have taught them. Each day, I left exhausted but genuinely happy with how the day had gone. The children are loving, curious and always looking to have fun. They helped teach me increased patience, conflict management skills and how to let the small stuff slide. I could not have asked for a better group of kids to work with for the summer.”

Miguel Donneyz: “Working with children from North Philadelphia this summer was an empowering experience as a first-generation Colombian-American. It was an opportunity to expose these children to a healthy lifestyle by sharing with them knowledge and habits that I learned in the fitness industry and as a medical student. The experience not only made me better aware of the various needs within this population, such as education and health, but also taught me the skills needed to successfully interact with this age group in my career.”

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Healthy Choices Summer Camp

Student Interns:
Nicholas Clark, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Connor Diaz, Drexel University College of Medicine
Erica Ochsenreither, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Matthew (Teo) Pier, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Yasmine Awais, MAAT, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCAT, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Community Preceptor:
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 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; Injury and Violence Prevention; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the East Park Revitalization Alliance’s Healthy Choices Summer Camp planned and executed a fire prevention skit, a Strawberry Mansion public mural, a solar oven and nutritious eating projects. For recreational activities, the interns led soccer, basketball, wiffle ball, kickball, dodgeball, yoga, hiking and swimming to emphasize tangible promotion of cardiovascular health. To explore different modalities of expression, interns facilitated painting, drawing, clay sculpting, origami, dancing and drumming activities and a paper plane competition. Finally, the interns also guided field trips to Smith Memorial Playground, the Philadelphia Zoo, BounceU, and the Dell Music Center Kids Fest and to go bowling and roller skating.

Intern Statements:
Nicholas Clark: “Interning with EPRA this summer was an amazing introduction to the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. As a relatively new resident to Philadelphia, I really appreciated the opportunity to learn about and make meaningful connections to this community. As a music therapy student who often relates more easily to the creative side of creative arts therapy work than the health-oriented side, it was also inspiring to work on a team that included med students with the shared goal of promoting community health.”

Connor Diaz: “My experiences at EPRA’s Healthy Choices Summer Camp exposed me to the many difficulties facing Strawberry Mansion’s youth, while reaffirming my ability to connect with underprivileged children and ultimately make a difference in their lives. Developing the patience and communication skills to understand traumatic experiences that spark disruptive behavior has driven me to continue working with children from underserved populations. Most importantly, this internship developed a sense of social duty to devote myself to those most in need.”

Erica Ochsenreither: “Bridging the Gaps offered so much more than an opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary team. I gained an education in community health, developed a deeper understanding and appreciation for the neighborhood I was working in, and contributed to activities that left an impression on me as well as my career. I grew professionally, acquiring practice in flexing the characteristics of fluidity and flexibility, traits essential to the creative arts therapies. I have developed not only personally, but as a future therapist.”

Teo Pier: “This internship provided highly valuable perspectives on youth development that I will carry into my personal and professional life. I loved learning to understand the life experiences of the summer camp attendees while also sharing my own interests. Notably, I learned to foster a trauma-informed mind-set to guide my interactions with many of the children. Going forward, Bridging the Gaps will undoubtedly help me grow into a physician able to provide quality care to individuals from backgrounds vastly different from my own.”

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Tots on the Move at Myers Rec

Student Interns:
Daniel Curry, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Brenna Lilley, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Madeline Runyen, Thomas Jefferson University, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy Program
Philemon Tedros, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

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
Chén C. Kenyon, MD, MSHP, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
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, located in Southwest Philadelphia, provides affordable summer programs for children aged 2 to 15 that are engaging and fun and, most important, keep the kids active. The facility is located in a low-income zip code where access to healthy food is limited. Throughout the year at Myers Rec, the center serves the community by engaging students in volunteer opportunities such as tending to community gardens, hosting events, educating children and visiting senior living facilities. 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 organized and coordinated engaging activities with the children in the Francis J. Myers Tots Program (aged 2 to 5) to create an active, educational summer. Most of the physical activities focused on developing the children’s gross and fine motor skills and teaching them about cardiovascular health. The interns used hands-on learning activities appropriate for the developmental stages of the children to teach science and health-related lessons. These included an oral health week to teach flossing and brushing, gardening and nutrition activities to learn about healthy foods, and science lessons to learn about primary colors and color mixing, chemical reactions, and viscosity. Overall, the activities provided a way to engage the children in active play and learning, and helped create a scaffold for continued development of healthy habits and a drive to learn.

Intern Statements:
Dan Curry: “I came into the camp with an idea that having activities outlined for each day would allow us to have a big impact on these tots and quickly realized there is a learning curve to working with tots. The range of development made our job difficult but also gratifying once we had a chance to learn more about each tot to learn how to interact with them. My experiences this summer with the tots surprised me because even though we mostly dealt with 2- to 6-year-olds, I learned about making communication personal, and that will be applicable for my whole personal and professional life. It was great to see the important role that Myers Rec has in serving its local community, and I was grateful to be able to help as a BTG intern.”

Brenna Lilley: “Working at Myers Rec this summer has been an invaluable opportunity to learn from the children and teachers in the Tots Program. I have learned so much about what it means to engage with and teach preschool-aged children and hope that the healthy habit-building activities we organized will lay a foundation that these kids can use to build a healthy lifestyle going forward. I have also learned how embedded Myers Rec is within the surrounding community — from all of the families that use the center as a childcare option to the trips we took to a neighboring senior center and community garden. I have felt so fortunate to work within this community that cares so much about its children and their futures.”

Maddie Runyen: “My experience at Bridging the Gaps has exposed me to the health disparities that are often unseen within the healthcare system. I more deeply value and understand the importance and place I have in promoting health before disease sets in. Especially with young children, even establishing habits or exposing them to health concepts can be the foundation for health literacy and, in turn, health in the long run.”

Phil Tedros: “I felt fortunate to have BTG allow me to work among future colleagues whose career paths both mirrored and differed from mine. Through our Wednesday meetings, I have truly developed both professionally and socially, as we tackle issues that occur in our day-to-day work life and the issues that surround us in our society. The opportunity to use the skills I’ve learned in conjunction with the skills of those around me to make a positive impact in Southwest Philadelphia, where I hail from, created a fantastic and immersive experience for me.”

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Serving Hunting Park Through Tennis

Student Interns:
Asuseyi Daniyan, Drexel University, Dornsife School of Public Health
Rheanna Vimawala, Drexel University College of Medicine

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

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

The Community Site:
Legacy Youth Tennis and Education (LYTE) has a mission to prepare young people, especially from under-resourced families and communities, for success as individuals and as active, responsible citizens through innovative tennis, educational, life-skills and leadership development programming. LYTE is associated with several parks and playgrounds throughout Philadelphia that host camps for children aged 6 to 17. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education worked with children at the Hunting Park camp to shape the campers into active and responsible people through tennis. They taught students about the importance of heart health and the positive and negative effects of their actions and choices on their heart. The interns also led a literacy program to help maintain the campers’ reading levels throughout the summer into the next school year. Seeing the same kids each day allowed the interns to create meaningful, trusting connections with the campers and learn about how the social determinants of health affect their everyday lives.

Intern Statements:
Asuseyi Daniyan: “My understanding of community health has expanded greatly. Working with LYTE, I was able to see the other aspects of health and the social determinants that affected them. The experience was enlightening, and it has given me more confidence as I look to work in the field of public health.”

Rheanna Vimawala: “Working at Hunting Park through LYTE has not only allowed me to see improvement in the campers’ tennis skills, but also has strengthened my resolve to serve communities such as this one. This experience has humanized and put faces on the problems of health access and care that I will carry with me into my professional life and work. Getting to forge relationships with kids of so much potential, talent and heart has shown me how much of a difference improving healthcare and education can be in the lives of individuals. It was inspiring to see how a sport that shaped much of my childhood is impacting and molding these kids in powerful ways.”

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Everybody Matters: Health, the Human Body and the Community

Student Interns:
Jessica Fleischer, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Thomas Quinn, Temple University, School of Nursing
Alexis (Lexi) Saunders, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Providenza Rocco, JD, MSW, MBE, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Kaiya Harris, The Lenfest Center
Josh Klaris, The Lenfest Center

The Community Site:
The Lenfest Center opened in September 2007, the result of several years of hard work by the H. Chase Lenfest Foundation. The building is 52,000 square feet and contains a basketball court, dance studio, computer lab, library, game room, catering kitchen, and several classrooms and conference rooms. Students who participate are given the opportunity to sharpen their academic skills and develop their social and emotional skills. All of the center’s programs are safe, structured and fun. Activities are free to participants, and enrollment is based on a first-come, first-served basis. The Lenfest Center aims to collaborate with the local community to improve life outcomes for all residents, together. It uses a holistic, integrated, sustainable approach to support a vibrant neighborhood where current and future generations can live happy, healthy and civically engaged lives. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Lenfest Center designed and implemented a four-week science curriculum for rising middle school students in the North Philadelphia community. Scholars in the program engaged in scientific experiments, studied human anatomy, explored their personal interests through research and gained valuable professional skills. Various presenters from the Temple University Hospital Network spoke to the scholars to broaden their understanding of healthcare professions and delivery. Scholars presented a final project to the Temple Health community to round out the summer, and they received a commemorative pin and certificate to celebrate the substantial achievement of completing the Science Scholar Program.

Intern Statements:
Jessica Fleischer: “The intelligence, engagement and creativity of the Temple-Lenfest Science Scholars cannot be overstated. It was an honor to help them pursue their interests, cultivate self-advocacy skills and gain a structural-functional perspective of human anatomy. The scholars’ curiosity and love for helping others will undoubtedly help them realize their academic, career and personal goals.”

Tom Quinn: “Working with these kids provided a unique experience into the lives of children living in North Philadelphia. While there were certainly many new challenges during the development of this camp, the team handled them appropriately and worked together to promote flexibility and resilience in the face of adversity. In the future, I will always remember this experience for what I learned about patient education as well as how best to respond to a child’s needs. Moreover, I will also remember how my team best functioned and will be able to lead an organized team in my career as a nurse.”

Lexi Saunders: “As a mentor to our Temple-Lenfest Science Scholars, I gained invaluable insight into the psychological and socioeconomic factors that shape a child’s development and future health behaviors. Above all, I recognized an innate desire to feel safe, to form meaningful relationships with others, and to have a compassionate adult that protects and advocates for their youth. The relationships formed through Bridging the Gaps will remain with me and have reaffirmed my commitment to these values as a future health professional.”

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Keeping the Neighborhood Healthy

Student Interns:
Dana Gramolini, Drexel University College of Medicine
Theodore (TJ) Lewis, Drexel University College of Medicine
Winston Wu, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Andrew Ow, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Danielle McCoy, MEd, 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):
Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Tobacco Use; Vision.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at North Light Community Center acted as camp counselors and taught both health and STEM lessons to the campers. Health lessons included the importance of sun protection and hand washing, oral health, cardiovascular health, smoking prevention and eye health. STEM lessons included recycling and architecture. Camp counselor duties included taking the children on educational trips to places such as Valley Forge and the Franklin Institute. The interns also accompanied the campers on outdoor recreational activities.

Intern Statements:
Dana Gramolini: “While I have had the opportunity to work with kids before, BTG gave me valuable experience communicating and interacting with children this summer. I got a lot of practice in showing empathy and patience, even if it was just by washing out a small cut and putting a Band-Aid on it. Just talking with kids is not always as easy as it might seem, and I have definitely improved in that regard. And while I do not plan on going into pediatrics specifically, I will inevitably have to take care of children at some point in my career, and I believe this summer gave me skills to do so effectively and compassionately.”

TJ Lewis: “Working at North Light through BTG has confirmed my desire to have a future medical career where I can work with children. Interacting with the children has helped me to better understand the community while also learning to embrace the unique potential each child can provide. This experience has shown me that children often offer a unique perspective that can allow you to see things from a different angle. I plan to utilize the skills I learned during this internship to better interact and understand my future patients and their community.”

Winston Wu: “BTG gave me the opportunity to work with the local community that I live in as well as with children, a population that I have very little experience working with. Throughout the summer I was served my fair share of humble pie and experienced incredibly meaningful lessons regarding patience and perspective. While I do not plan on working in a child-focused specialty in the future, I will inevitably come across many children as a physician, and the BTG experience has been invaluable in developing my skills in communicating with children and looking past the surface-level details to better understand the whole context. Working with children can be extremely difficult, and I hold so much respect for those that do so on a daily basis.”

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A Sanctuary for Building Brighter Futures

Student Interns:
Stephanie Fagbemi, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Tina Thomas, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptor:
Nora Jones, PhD, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Kevin Weber, Northern Children’s Services

The Community Site:
Northern Children’s Services supports the healthy development of children while stabilizing their families to build stronger communities. Everything Northern Children’s Services does is designed to create a better future for its clients. Northern Children’s Services believes that every child has the potential to transform himself or herself—no matter his or her background or life situation. If that potential is invested in, through services that focus on care, safety, health, permanency, independence and positive relationships, the children will lead happier and healthier lives. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Environmental Health; Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Northern Children’s Services (NCS) spent their time proctoring and participating in therapeutic activities with the children. These activities were geared toward improving mental health and well-being, physical health, and socialization. The interns also provided academic support through one-on-one tutoring sessions. Throughout their internship, they modeled positive relationships of kindness and respect for each other, the NCS staff and the children.

Intern Statements:
Stephanie Fagbemi: “Working at NCS, I got everything I wanted out of summer — hiking, swimming, playing sports and interacting with kids! Of course, it was not without its challenges, but I think that those challenges have made me more patient and understanding, which are qualities I can utilize as I look forward to becoming a physician, because I will be able to manage treating a challenging patient population. One lesson I will take with me throughout my life came from my community preceptor, Kevin Weber: There may be circumstances at home that we don’t know about and sometimes a kid may behave inappropriately because of the toll their home life has taken. It is important to give them the benefit of the doubt, say that they are just having a bad day, and allow them a fresh start to show you that they really are a great kid.”

Tina Thomas: “Going into the BTG CHIP experience, I did not realize the impact it would have on my professional/personal development. Looking back, I’ve had one of the best summers because of my experience at Northern Children’s Services and have learned countless lessons throughout the process. In terms of professional advancement, we were able to educate the kids on heart health, which sparked up conversation with some of the staff, and I now realize how important community health is. Making sure every community is aware of the importance of good health practices is vital to a healthy world. Personally, I’ve gained so much from building relationships with the kids/staff at NCS. Their ability to love generously and just enjoy life inspires me to do the same. Overall, I am extremely grateful for the experience I have had at NCS and cherish the memories I have made this summer.”

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From Sculling to Schooling: Health Education at Philadelphia City Rowing

Student Interns:
Jillian Heckman, Drexel University College of Medicine
Yasmina Samaha, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Daniel Taylor, DO, FAAP, FACOP, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Preceptor:
Nick Dillon, MA, Philadelphia City Rowing

The Community Site:
Philadelphia City Rowing (PCR) is a multifaceted program with the mission to empower Philadelphia public school students through the sport of rowing. The program’s goal is to foster personal development, academic achievement and positive health outcomes in these young participants, so they can reach their full potential and lead full, healthy lives. To accomplish this, PCR provides a structured rowing program for students along with academic support, mentoring, nutrition and environmental education, and enrichment opportunities free of charge to students in grades 7 through 12. PCR’s philosophy is to put students first and engage under-resourced youth by being inclusive, transformative and engaged with the community. 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 Philadelphia City Rowing developed a curriculum about exercise science to teach to middle school and high school students during rowing camp. Topics included physical activity and cardiovascular health, nutrition and oral health, stress reduction and mindfulness, and injury prevention through flexibility training. The materials were delivered through different mediums including daily promotion of healthy behaviors, intentional exercises, hands-on activities, and take-home brochures and recipe guides created by the interns. Interns conducted pre- and post-curriculum knowledge assessments and Likert surveys to demonstrate the importance of exercise-promoting camps for Philadelphia’s youth.

Intern Statements:
Jillian Heckman: “With hopes of being a future pediatrician, my summer experience at Philadelphia City Rowing demonstrated to me the importance of health education in adolescents, as they are at a critical period where they begin to make individual choices about their lives. Providing teens with the appropriate knowledge and resources allows them to develop healthy lifestyle habits which will transcend with them into adulthood. Community programs, such as PCR, are important for delivering health education to vulnerable populations that may not receive this information elsewhere and have immense value in supporting youth and creating young adults with positive and healthy futures.”

Yasmina Samaha: “Bridging the Gaps has been a summer experience that has helped me learn about the adolescent community in Philadelphia, while providing me the opportunity to develop the interprofessional skills needed to be a successful healthcare professional. It was invaluable to hear directly from the adolescents participating in PCR about the Philadelphia school system and the insufficiency in their education about exercise, nutrition and oral health. Their eagerness to take their health into their own hands reinforced how empowering knowledge can be. By facilitating open discussions about health topics, we gave adolescents a chance to learn from each other, and we had a chance to listen to the language they used so we could emulate it in the future. Working with a diverse team of people at PCR has shown me the importance of providing accessible resources to youth and creating a welcoming community environment to foster positive personal development.”

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Crossing the Bridge to Healthy Living: Introduction to the Human Body!

Student Interns:
Grace Nguyen, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Ariana Nuñez, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

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

Community Preceptor:
Alexandra Wolkoff, Puentes de Salud, Puentes Hacía el Futuro

The Community Site:
The mission of Puentes de Salud is to improve the health and wellness of the Latino community in South Philadelphia by providing healthcare and by addressing the social factors that influence long-term health outcomes, such as education, literacy and socioeconomic status. The Puentes Hacía el Futuro program is one of Puentes’ social services; it addresses these fundamental issues by providing tutoring and literacy support as well as art, culture and health education to children in the community. 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 focused on promoting healthy living and literacy skills for students aged 7 to 12 at Puentes de Salud’s Puentes Hacía el Futuro. The program encouraged students to expand their understanding of themselves and the world around them through books, reflection activities, and mindfulness and health-conscious activities. The volunteers worked as an interdisciplinary group to create a safe and supportive environment for students to expand their knowledge and expression. The Bridging the Gaps interns created weekly lessons to teach students about different aspects of the human body and ways to live a healthy lifestyle, emphasizing key points about mental, cardiovascular, oral and overall health in a fun and engaging manner. Each week, the interns created an interactive curriculum that accommodated each group’s interests and needs.

Intern Statements:
Grace Nguyen: “At the beginning of the summer, I thought that I would just be working at a day camp for seven weeks. However, the experience went far beyond what I was expecting. Working with the students at Puentes, I met the sweetest and most optimistic young minds, and I’m so grateful that we were all able to learn and grow together. I learned a lot from the children, and all of the co-interns and I experienced ups and downs that I never expected just a few weeks ago before camp started. At the end of this experience, I hope that these lessons resonated with someone and encouraged them to live a healthier, happier life.”

Ariana Nuñez: “Throughout this past summer, working as an intern for Puentes Hacía el Futuro has been a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has exceeded all of my expectations. Having the privilege to be able to work with the young, inquisitive, compassionate and extremely intelligent community of Latinx students has resulted in deep personal and emotional learning and growth. Each day, I learned something new from each student, and [it] was proven over and over again that aside from their hunger to learn something new, they are wise beyond their years and always ready for the next challenge. I am grateful for the challenges, bonds and lessons I gained and can carry with me into the future to positively impact my career. But overall, I am grateful that I had the chance to teach these students hopefully just as much as they taught me, if not more!”

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Encouraging Imagination, Creativity and Free Play

Student Interns:
Brianna Bliss, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Clinical Psychology Program
Candace Callender, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Stephanie Foster, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Alyssa Hertz, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Clinical Psychology Program
Hyung Jin Lim, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Jacob Newman, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptor:
Pat Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Rebecca Dhondt, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse
Kate Zmich, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse

The Community Site:
Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse enriches the lives of children and families by providing and promoting opportunities for creativity and unstructured free play to local communities. Smith Memorial welcomes children of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds to utilize the playground to foster their own creativity. View Community Partner Web Site

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

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with children at the Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse. The interns implemented various learning activities to foster social and behavioral skills, education on physical health, and teamwork and problem-solving skills. They also empowered the children’s self-confidence by encouraging creativity during these play activities.

Intern Statements:
Brianna Bliss: “Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is a wonderful place that fosters a sense of community for children and parents. All are welcome to enjoy the playground and the learning activities offered on a daily basis. As a BTG intern at Smith, I had the opportunity to learn about creative and unstructured play. My goals for the summer were to learn more about how to successfully interact with children and to understand more about integrative healthcare by working with students from other disciplines.”

Candace Callender: “Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is a fun and accessible place for children from all walks of life and backgrounds. At Smith, children have the opportunity to be free and run around and play. They can interact with other kids and learn how to play and share with others. As a fellow BTG intern, I had the opportunity to come up with different activities to engage children in creative and imaginative play. My goals this summer were to get as much exposure to children as possible and form meaningful bonds with them as well as forming connections with my future colleagues in healthcare.”

Stephanie Foster: “Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is an amazing place for children and families to come together and enjoy a fun day filled with play. The Playhouse offers an educational and safe haven for younger children, ages 5 and under, while the playground is a place for all children ages 12 and under. As a BTG intern at Smith, I had the opportunity to help facilitate fun and creative play with the visitors at the park. I also formed strong bonds with my fellow Smith interns. My goals for the summer were to make sure that the visitors were having a fun time and encourage exercise and healthy eating in their lives.”

Alyssa Hertz: “Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse has truly opened my eyes to the hardships and struggles that nonprofit organizations encounter. Student interns utilized limited resources at the site to meet our project goals. My goal this summer was to learn about how to work with D.O. students and provide integrative care to children who came to the playground.”

Hyung Jin Lim: “Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is a great place for kids to learn and interact with each other. Working at this playground allowed me to learn about cultural humility, as many different kids come in to play in this playground. Making new play activities for the kids with other BTG interns from a different academic discipline allowed me to develop team working ability. My goal for this summer was to work with others and interpersonally interact with kids.”

Jacob Newman: “Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse is an amazing example of what donations can support. Being nonprofit and privately funded presents a lot of challenges for a playground. Safety standards and state-of-the-art facilities are very hard to acquire and maintain working on a slim budget. What Smith is able to provide to children is amazing, and those who run it deserve a lot of praise. Working here gave me insight on how much effort is required to provide for a community and also why it is so necessary to give that effort. My goals for this summer were to help out as much as possible for this community treasure and to engage children and parents with creative ways to play and stay healthy.”

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Science, Health and Wellness Lessons at Patterson Summer Camp

Student Interns:
Alexandra Berman, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Caitlin Bryan, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Heidi Chiu, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
Sarah Hannigan, Thomas Jefferson University, Occupational Therapy Program

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
Priscilla Mpasi, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
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):
Adolescent Health; Child Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity; Respiratory Diseases; Tobacco Use.

The Project:
At the Patterson Summer Camp, the Bridging the Gaps student interns spent their summer teaching campers aged 6 to 12 about a variety of topics related to health and science, ranging from basic plant biology and phases of matter to oral health, exercise and nutrition. The interns worked hard to diversify their programming, bringing in special guest presentations from the fire and police departments and even organizing a field trip to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Their mission was to expose the campers to a wide range of topics and encourage a passion for knowledge and a love for learning at a young age. Through interactive, hands-on lessons and consistent reinforcement of previously learned material, the interns sought to provide the Patterson School campers with a solid foundation of basic concepts and an excitement for their future education in a wide variety of disciplines.

Intern Statements:
Alexandra Berman: “As a medical student hoping to one day go into pediatrics, working at the Patterson School Summer Camp was a unique and deeply enriching experience. I have always loved working with children, and the Patterson School was an entirely new level of immersion in education and early childhood development, both of which will be vital in my future career in pediatrics. This summer has given me a glimpse into the lives of the patients I one day hope to treat. If medicine is about treating the whole person, not just the illness, then to be a successful physician for children one must also be a proficient child educator, and the Bridging the Gaps internship at the Patterson School has helped me move closer to that goal.”

Caitlin Bryan: “Working at the Patterson Camp this summer exceeded all expectations I had before starting Bridging the Gaps. The insight I gained about the obstacles facing the Philadelphia community, especially the children, will be so valuable when I begin treating patients in a year from now. My experiences dealing with situations when things were not working as planned will help me in my future career, as obstacles constantly arise in healthcare, and I will have the ability to quickly adapt to the situation. Interacting with the students each day and watching them learn and grow while having fun was such a rewarding experience.”

Heidi Chiu: “The Patterson Summer Camp was an incredible experience that I would not have gotten elsewhere. Even though I originally wasn't planning on working with kids for the summer, I'm grateful to have been able to teach these extremely bright and intelligent children. Through them, I was able to better understand how I can help my future patients in their times of need by addressing issues outside of a medical diagnosis. I was able to see firsthand the economic and health disparities in Southwest Philadelphia. BTG has given me this opportunity not only to work with students from other fields in the healthcare team, but also has allowed me to work with a population I had never experienced before.”

Sarah Hannigan: “Working in this setting has impacted both my professional and personal development by making me more aware of ways in which I can apply what I am learning at school to real-life situations. This experience has shaped my understanding of resources available to the general public, issues commonly faced by the population and topics that should be highlighted with the children. Having gained this knowledge through experience and not school, I have more real-life application rather than example case stories. I have been able to work with other students in varying medical fields and have further established my understanding of the value in having an interdisciplinary team.”

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Bridging the Gaps Community Partnership with SGA

Student Interns:
Sarah Dawson, Temple University, School of Nursing
Jessica Walsh, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Nora Jones, PhD, Temple University

Community Preceptors:
Candace Wegner, Spring Garden Academy
Se’mona Williams, Spring Garden Academy

The Community Site:
Spring Garden Academy (SGA) is a private Philadelphia Christian school, educating children in preschool through grade 8. As a ministry of Next Generation Ministries, the school’s mission is to prepare the next generation of leaders for the urban family, church and community. SGA operates at two locations: 1801 Spring Garden Street and 3501 North 17th Street. The summer camp integrated the 2018 Vacation Bible School “Shipwrecked” program in hopes of strengthening the students’ faith. Activities at camp included arts and crafts, field trips to Camp Linden and other locations, singing and dancing, Bible study, outdoor play and more. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; 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 Spring Garden Academy led educational discussions every week possible on the topics of physical activity, oral health and heart health. The interns worked with the Spring Garden Academy staff on their daily activities and provided help when needed. They organized a Health and Wellness Fair over the course of six weeks for the students and their families as well as the surrounding North Philadelphia community. The health fair included organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, Smoke Free Philly, Philabundance and many others.

Intern Statements:
Sarah Dawson: “This internship was my first formal experience working with children. After spending the past seven weeks with the SGA students, I am definitely more interested in pediatric nursing. Additionally, my experiences with this internship have fueled my desire to work more closely with the community. Before college, I only envisioned myself working in a hospital. Temple University and BTG have shown me the significance of community-engaged practice and the many ways in which education is enriched by application.”

Jessica Walsh: “The BTG internship has greatly impacted both my professional and personal development. Working in North Philadelphia for the summer reaffirmed my desire to serve this community in my future profession. It also allowed me to better understand the people I will one day be caring for, not only their motivations and desires, but also the struggles/barriers they face when accessing healthcare. Working with another intern from a different healthcare field has shown me the importance of interprofessional relationships among healthcare professionals. Personally, this experience has brought to light how imperative it is to immerse yourself in a community and environment different from your own; it has helped me become a more well-rounded and open-minded person.”

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Organization of a Back-to-School Carnival/Health and Resource Fair

Student Interns:
Youssef Fardos, Drexel University College of Medicine
Jessica Fenton, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Katie McPeak, MD, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children

Community Preceptors:
Katie Feehan, MPH, CHES, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
Renee Turchi, MD, MPH, FAAP, 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 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 Healthcare; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities Conditions; Health Communication; Maternal, Infant and Child Health.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs of St. Christopher’s Hospital were tasked with organizing the annual Back-to-School Carnival/Health and Resource Fair. This involved booking entertainment, ordering food, inviting representatives of more than 40 organizations, and scheduling more than 100 recruited volunteers to assist in handling the event. In their downtime, the interns shadowed physicians in the hospital to gain exposure to the fields they were potentially interested in.

Intern Statements:
Youssef Fardos: “Working this past summer at St. Christopher’s has given me an insight into the importance of an interprofessional staff and the critical role they play in caring for patients. The skills and resources brought to a clinic by such a diverse team are a necessary component for providing patients with the highest quality of care possible.”

Jessica Fenton: “Being able to participate in BTG this summer has opened my eyes even more to how much work needs to be put back into the communities many of us aim to serve. Through this experience I have truly learned to be a more adaptable and observant person. This experience has inspired me to make sure that I am and will be an advocate for the people I aim to serve.”

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Using Soccer to Facilitate Sports-Based Youth Development

Student Interns:
Kevin Jin, Drexel University College of Medicine
Dylan Vance, Drexel University College of Medicine

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

Community Preceptors:
Kate Sandy, LCSW, Starfinder Foundation
Samantha Swerdloff, MCRP, Starfinder Foundation

The Community Site:
The Starfinder Foundation provides a safe place for children aged 4 to 18 to play soccer, with the goal of developing and enhancing 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):
Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with Starfinder’s soccer camp, where about 70 kids aged 4 to 14 learned both soccer and life skills. After camp, the interns helped with such activities as applying for food grants, buying and selling equipment, and organizing the site. The interns also helped create health tips and healthy nutrition information for the Senior Leader program and provided feedback and professionalism development for the high school coaches.

Intern Statements:
Kevin Jin: “Bridging the Gaps has left me with many unforgettable memories and experiences which will shape both my professional and personal development in the future. Working with underprivileged and discriminated populations has reminded me why I have worked so tirelessly towards becoming a physician: to make a positive impact on my community. Becoming a physician is not just about the respect and prestige of the profession; it’s about making a difference and improving the lives of those who need it the most. I hope to use the lessons and tools that I have learned this summer to not only become a better professional, but also a better person.”

Dylan Vance: “Bridging the Gaps has had a large influence on what I want to do with my career in medicine. For most of first year, I have been wavering between doing pediatrics or not. Working with kids again helped me realize that I do still really enjoy working with kids and that I would most likely enjoy a specialty where I could subspecialize in pediatrics such as ENT pediatrics. I am also interested in global health, and BTG has given me the tools and knowledge to apply public health principles to global health.”

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To a Healthy Heart and Beyond

Student Interns:
Brianna Ciancaglini, Temple University, Master of Occupational Therapy
Caroline Ross, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Nora Jones, PhD, Temple University

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; 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 worked with the youth and other staff to help prepare a student-made carnival using a STEAM model of facilitation, focusing on relating the process of making a carnival game to the scientific method. The interns also led educational discussions and experiments focusing on nutrition, cardiovascular health, stress management and oral health. They introduced daily exercises and stretching into the classroom to foster exercise and physical health in the students.

Intern Statements:
Brianna Ciancaglini: “Participating in Bridging the Gaps this summer has given me a new perspective on the access to health education in the North Philadelphia community. Many students were unaware of basic healthcare knowledge that contributes to living a healthy and active lifestyle. It was rewarding not only to give these students this diverse knowledge, but to also watch them use this knowledge to make changes in their everyday routines. As an occupational therapy student, I learned the importance of providing care and education to those living in areas where services may be difficult to receive. I plan to always keep this in mind in my future career to ensure that everyone has the access to the care they deserve.”

Caroline Ross: “My experience at To Our Children’s Future With Health has deeply connected me with the North Philadelphia community. Getting to know the students and hearing their stories has helped shed the so-called "single story" that so often accompanies an underserved neighborhood. Working with the youth every day has allowed me to become more patient and more flexible, two qualities that will be essential as a physician. I better understand the importance of getting to know someone, both their strengths and their weaknesses, in order to develop a plan, whether it be in the classroom like it was this summer or in a hospital as it may be in the future.”

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Summary Title: Growing a Better Community

Student Intern:
Luis A. Aguilar Montalvan, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Academic Preceptor:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

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

The Community Site:
The mission of Urban Tree Connection (UTC) is to work with residents in Philadelphia’s historically marginalized urban communities to transform abandoned open spaces into safe and functional places that inspire and promote positive human interaction. Founded in 1989, UTC works primarily with residents of West Philadelphia’s Haddington neighborhood to develop community-driven greening and gardening projects on vacant land. Over the past 19 years, UTC has partnered with residents to redevelop 29 vacant lots, totaling more than 86,000 square feet of land. Together, UTC and local residents have repurposed these spaces for communal growing and gathering; sustainable food production and affordable food distribution; and multigenerational community health and wellness education, including nutrition and healthy cooking, gardening, food, and land and environmental justice. UTC aims to cultivate community leadership, improve community health and develop a local, sustainable, equitable food system. 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 intern participated in community outreach and advocacy for Urban Tree Connection by creating and distributing flyers to members of the community each week. Each week, the intern also designed lessons and activities for the afternoon children’s program, teaching nutrition and promoting heart-healthy behaviors, and assisted with the Teen Apprenticeship Program by teaching teamwork, nutrition, community sustainability, leadership and personal development. Lastly, the intern worked in the community garden with both programs to perform and teach farm maintenance skills and harvest produce.

Intern Statement:
Luis A. Aguilar Montalvan: “Not only did the space itself provide refuge from whatever the residents needed space from, but also, each time that the community members worked on the gardening beds, the relationships that they were harvesting among each other, that simply warmed my heart with optimism. … The issues crippling our society’s underserved communities are always more nuanced than is apparent to an outsider. Therefore, it is imperative for allies to these communities to have a consistent presence in the community. I also learned that it is the community members themselves who are the experts on the unmeasured, yet significant, factors affecting their well-being. So being present to listen, observe and ask questions is a core practice of addressing genuine community concerns. This is how an insider of the healthcare system can effectively use their privilege and direct it towards community-guided growth.”

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Fostering Creative, Artistic and Leadership Development in Inner-City Youth

Student Interns:
Chante Jackson, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Emma Wagner, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

Academic Preceptor:
Michele Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPC, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy

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

The Community Site:
The Village of Arts and Humanities aims 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. The Village of Arts and Humanities provides free arts classes 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; Mental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Preparedness.

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Village of Arts and Humanities collaborated with the cultural support staff to plan and lead weekly summer program themes and daily transitional activities for the children between class sessions. They assisted various teachers by co-facilitating and supervising the youth. The interns provided the children with education on cardiovascular health and wellness. They also led a discussion about stress prevention and how that can help to improve cardiovascular health. They helped to facilitate the making of the HeartSmart poster to demonstrate ways to help reduce stress. They also used their dance/movement therapy and art therapy disciplines to foster creative expression in dance and art classes.

Intern Statements:
Chante Jackson: “My short time spent in the Bridging the Gaps Community Health Internship Program has helped me to be even more aware of my own privilege within my circumstances. Being an African-American young woman, I have been fortunate to be afforded opportunities that others in my community were not. Bridging the Gaps has given me a lens into how I can utilize my privilege, my experience and myself in serving those through my professional work. Bridging the Gaps has provided me with experience and knowledge that I would not have otherwise been exposed to and will carry with me throughout the rest of my professional life.”

Emma Wagner: “My experience as a Bridging the Gaps intern at the Village of Arts and Humanities challenged me to examine my own assumptions as I learned how to support and work with the African-American youth of North Philadelphia. While interacting with staff and children at the Village and fellow BTG interns during Wednesday seminar days, I developed better listening skills and began entering discussions with an increased open-mindedness. During my time as an intern, I needed to be flexible and willing to adapt to changing plans and needs, which is an essential skill in the mental health field.”

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