Interning at Celebrating Healthy Communities

Hi, my name is Gayle George and I am from Whiteriver, Arizona.  I am currently a senior at Fort Lewis College and I am studying public health.  I had the privilege to intern at a non-profit organization called Celebrating Healthy Communities and in the past few months, I have gained a depth of information that involves a lot of collaboration between different sectors in our local community.  Our organization mainly focuses on the youth and families who are in the La Plata Country areas.  I enjoyed all the outreach events that I had helped with, it was such an amazing experience that I will never forget. 

I come from a different culture and so when I first started my internship here it was a little hard for me to adjust to the community. So after I completed my internship I felt so welcomed by the public and was so amazed and I felt more comfortable.  I have been here for three years and I am so glad that I finally adapted to the community of Durango.  I realize it is very important to know your community and to also build a relationship with them, I currently try to get involved with various community events.

While I was interning at CHC, I learned so much about the various campaigns and the most important campaign that I thought was interesting was the 40 Developmental Assets.  These developmental assets help the young children grow and help them to be more responsible.  This framework of developmental assets combines a research based approach to child and youth development with practical ways that help our communities work together to prepare the young people for success in school and possibly with their future career.

The activities that helped me make the senior project most beneficial to me was attending all the scheduled events that were happening within the community.  It was interesting to see everyone collaborating together with different sectors and promoting an addiction free-lifestyles and by building assets for the youth.  My personal strength is working with the youth in our community because I have gained so much compassion for the youth in our society.  In the future, upon completing my degree, I would like to go back to my reservation and share my knowledge and experience with my own community, I feel that it is important to reach out to my community and address importance of making healthy choices and to support the youth and families.

One of my favorite events was volunteering with the 2nd Annual Animas Slash and Dash 5k and 1k youth fun run.  I had the opportunity to work with Samantha Gibson of the La Plata Youth Service.  It was nice to partake in this event and to see the youth being very active, along with their parents in this event.  I found the time before and after the race to educate the youth about having a healthy lifestyle and basically congratulating them for running the 5k as well as the 1k.  I also handed them stickers and bags that had our logo on them.  It was such a great experience to see a positive environment for the youth and to see families happy.

I had such a great experience working with Celebrating Healthy Communities, there were a lot of new things that I did and it was very different from where I came from.  It was a big culture shift for me, but I enjoyed every bit of it. Promoting healthy living has always been my passion, I like to encourage and educate the public so that they can live a happy, positive lifestyle.  I would like to thank Pat Senecal, Cody Goss, Lauren Patterson and Breeah Kinsella for letting me work right along with them.  I gained so much knowledge over the summer and it has helped me in so many ways.


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