Into The Food Trust office walks Priscilla the intern, an energetic sweatshirt-wearing 10th grader with a sweet smile who initially makes you think she’s just like any typical high school student. She’s quick to tell you about what she’s not looking forward to this school year; how her sister drives her nuts; and how doubling up on algebra and geometry is going to make this year tougher than any before -- all on top of playing year-round sports.
But then the conversation shifts to health: Priscilla tells me she has been able to influence her family with “more water, no soda in my refrigerator, whole wheat bread. My sister is a soda lover, so at first she was upset -- but now she loves water.” This all comes so naturally to Priscilla, I realize she has no idea how remarkable she is.
Priscilla and I are both working on Get HYPE Philly!, a citywide initiative funded by a $5 million GSK grant. Through physical fitness, nutrition education, urban agriculture, and work readiness, Get HYPE Philly! is helping to ensure that Philadelphia’s young people play a key role in building healthier communities and creating healthier generations.
I met Priscilla the first week I started my six month skills-based volunteering assignment with The Food Trust sponsored by GSK (PULSE - pretty cool right!).
Together we were hosting a table at Philly Feast and I was Priscilla’s photographer as she walked up to Mayor Kenney to advocate for safe, accessible drinking water. It was amazing to witness how Get HYPE Philly! is creating leaders that are changing their communities.
During my PULSE assignment, I am working on the Get HYPE Philly! communications toolkit and a sustainability plan. My goal is to make sure that people know about the amazing work that Priscilla and her peers are doing, and that this initiative continues for other young people.
During the next few months of my volunteer assignment, I am also excited about the HYPE summits coming up where students meet peers from other schools, participate in leadership development activities and create healthy action plans.
One workshop I will be facilitating is discussing promotional tactics kids can use to influence peers, school administration, parents, and local businesses to support a smoothie sale.
We need at least one farmers market around my community.
And personally, I am looking forward to spending more time with the kids like Priscilla, continuing to expand my understanding on social justices, and getting to play a small part as the Get HYPE Philly! impact grows.
And as for Priscilla, she is not done. She wants to see change in her community, including at least one farmer’s market: “We need at least one farmers market around my community.” And she tries to get her classmates “to switch from iced tea to water.” All this on top of chasing her dream of studying international business at Villanova. I’m excited to see what Priscilla does this year with Get HYPE Philly! – what leadership skills she learns, and how she influences her peers and family.