Hi there, my name is Samantha Holiday. I am a Public Health graduate from Fort Lewis College here in Durango. I am from Dennehotso, Arizona (small community in Apache County) and I moved to Durango to pursue my educational goals. For my senior year at FLC, I had the privilege to work as an intern for Celebrating Health Communities Coalition for a senior project. For the last five months, I have worked alongside two beautiful ladies, Pat Senecal and Breeah Kinsella, in raising awareness and bring forth prevention methods to help the youth and adults in the community about alcohol and substance use, including providing the resources that will help families live an addiction-free lifestyle.
Before I started my internship, I was focused on my family and education. I never felt I was adapting to or getting to know the community I called home, but through this internship I got to meet some wonderful people, also work with other organizations in the area and apply my educational experience to a work environment.
During this time, I gained experience by getting involved with my community by attending CHC meetings, Community Health Action Coalition (CHAC) monthly meetings, attending outreach events in Durango, Ignacio and Bayfield and working on two campaigns. I also got to learn about Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) which is where most of the data we use comes from, and learn about the Science of the Positive and 40 Developmental Assets. The HKCS helps us identify the areas that we need to address in our community. The 40 Developmental Assets was most interesting because it helps the youth identify some of the building blocks they need to acquire and some that they already have in order to become a responsible adult. This also helps them become more successful in school and their future. A few examples of Assets would be having support from family, community (teachers, coaches, role model), or being creative like playing an instrument, reading for more than a couple of hours a week, or be involved with sports.
Throughout my internship, I represented CHC at various outreach events in the community and surrounding areas. I also organized focus groups for two of the media campaigns “They are listening” and “Too Busy” by collaborating with other organizations like Boys & Girls Club, La Plata Youth Services, and 4H Youth Development, and Ignacio Library. This was my last project; it was the most difficult for me because I was assigned to meet and schedule the appointments with youth groups from middle school to high school students and get their opinions about what image best represents the two campaigns. This was also my favorite task because I got to listen to what the students think and what other ideas they had to share. I worked mostly with middle schools and gladly met with high school students from Ignacio during my last focus group meeting.
My overall experience as in intern with CHC as absolutely AWESOME. I got insight on how a community can come together as one and face some of the issues among the youth in the community. I was amazed on how many resources are available to teens and families here in La Plata county. Everyone I met was so passionate about the work they do for our community and very caring of each other. The community I grew up in was nothing like this and we didn’t have the resources that are provided here.
For the future interns, this is one heck of a great opportunity to apply education skills and get involved with your community. Or if you don’t want to get coffee or end up making multiple copies, apply with CHC for internship. This was a great experience and maybe one I will never forget.
I would like to say THANK YOU to the people I got to meet at the outreach events, the organizations that helped me with my focus groups, and PAT & BREEAH for taking me aboard and guiding me throughout my internship.