We’re excited to kick off our new Member Spotlight series with the help of AIHTI member Whitley Wynns! (Thank you, Whitley!)
The goal of the series is to provide firsthand accounts of our members’ AmeriCorps service experiences and to shed light on the organizations and populations they serve.
Whitley, our first contributor, serves at the Lincoln Street Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington as their Health and Wellness Coordinator. Read her reflection below:
My name is Whitley Wynns, and I serve at the Lincoln Street Boys and Girls Club in Bloomingtin, Indiana. The mission of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential. The Boys and Girls Club provides a safe place for young people to learn and grow, where ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals can be built. My host site also provides “life-enhancing,” character development programs that teach young people how to grow into productive, caring, responsible citizens. I serve as the Boys and Girls Club’s Health and Wellness Coordinator. This title allows me to perform many different tasks and wear many hats at “The Club.” My main responsibilities include assisting the athletic director in running gym programs, serving as homeroom leader for 8 and younger girls and as a Triple Play instructor.
Triple Play is a healthy lifestyle program offered to the children by the “The Club.” We cover nutrition, what we should be feeding our bodies, and how much. We also include a physical education component to the program, so children understand that nutrition and physical activity work together to keep us healthy. I do everything I can to make this program extremely successful and memberable because this is also my service project. Coming into the Boys and Girls Club, Triple Play was already set as a program but there was nothing that really made it special. My job was to really put this program on the map and get people and the community talking more about healthy living for ourselves and for our youth. Throughout the program I have had IU health students, a police officer, and a Zumba instructor come in and do activities with the kids or talk to them about different health risks and safety issues that they should be aware of and how to avoid these various issues. Through this program we hope to equip children with the proper knowledge to keep their bodies healthy and to teach them to stay away from things that can be harmful to their health.
I have had an overall very positive experience as an AmeriCorps/AIHTI member. I have come across great career building opportunities as well as networking ones. AmeriCorps has also made me more aware of the issues we are fighting against as a society. Obesity is a core issue that we need to fix as a society, but when you are working in one area and trying to fight against one societal ailment, you become exposed to many more problems and issues that need to be adressed and somehow fixed or managed. Simply put, I now want to try to save the world and have a hand in trying to find a solution to many of our problems. I have always wanted to be a lawyer, and that is still a deep passion of mine, but working as an AmeriCorps member has helped me to pick up different skills and learn various professional lessons that I will be able to take with me forever.
Stay tuned over the next few months for more spotlights on AIHTI members. It is sure to be an interesting read if you have any interest in working with underserved populations or are considering serving with AIHTI/AmeriCorps in the future.