I participated in the Back to School Jam in Mission Main with Adele Pike, Director of the Center of Excellence and Education at the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston, on September 15. Fellow KILN scholars, Denice and Amanda, and I represented the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston at a booth in a public park. This event aimed to educate the community on healthier ways to live. Other booths taught different health aspects varying from how long to brush your teeth to how to lose weight the healthy way. The purpose of our booth was teaching kids how to choose healthier foods and after school snacks. Obesity has become a problem in the United States, and by educating kids how to eat healthy early on, we can prevent this epidemic from spreading even more.
The children learned by using food toys to create their own typical favorite dish; when approached with unhealthy dishes, we explained why they were unhealthy and what a better option was while still incorporating their favorite foods. For instance, a meal should consist of ¼ protein, ¼ fruit, ¼ vegetables, and ¼ grains. If a child had a plate with tacos and cupcakes, we would incorporate salad because that is the majority of the ingredients in tacos, as well as chicken, with bread and an apple. The cupcake was fine to have (once in a while) for dessert after the healthy meal because no one should be deprived of a sweet craving.
Afterwards we were able to give out fruits and water to everyone who came to the booth; and entered them in a raffle with the prizes being 3 backpacks with healthy snacks like raisins, sunchips, etc. In addition, we gave out containers that were the size of the acceptable portions of snacks to promote portion control and prevent overeating. After we raffled the backpacks, many pictures were taken, including a couple with state representative of Massachusetts, Jeffrey Sanchez.
This event was very meaningful to my development as a nursing professional because it allowed me to interact with and educate children as I am contemplating the idea of working in pediatric palliative care. Although what I was doing with the kids at the park was completely different from what palliative care is about, interacting with the same age group was beneficial and reminded me of how much I really do love children. I am even considering starting off in the pediatric field overall.
The health fair opened my eyes to the fact that a nurse’s job is not only in a hospital and there are other settings where nurses can work. I want to be the type of nurse who volunteers and tries to uplift the community in different ways. Whether it is offering my services at a flu clinic or teaching people how to live a healthier life, I want to positively impact communities. I will start this even before my title is officially a “nurse.”