Summer Adventures

Valentina Stackl

Valentina Stackl

I started my summer internship this Monday. Before I left for D.C., I was terribly nervous: nervous about liking the organization, about making friends, living on my older sister’s pull out sofa, the neighborhood and the amount of work I would have. I was intimidated by the idea of transporting the knowledge I had acquired at SPH into the real world.

All my fears, turns out, where completely unnecessary. CentroNia, my workplace for the next 3 months, and Columbia Heights, my neighborhood, where a perfect fit for me.

CentroNia has two parts: one side is a public, bilingual, charter school that goes from pre K to 4th grade. The other component is made up of various educational services, like a daycare, an after care program, tutoring programs, youth programs and summer camps. My job is to develop health initiatives in regards to obesity and nutrition, a substantial problem in this heavily Latino populated area.

We’ve come up with so many ideas, for the children, parents and the staff, over the last few days: physical activity motivators for kids and adults, presentations about nutrition and obesity for parents and teachers, research on grants that could be available to us, healthier menu options for the children, and so much more.
Besides loving what I do every day, I am also enjoying this beautiful city. It’s already almost 90 degrees today, which I still need to get used to, but I am meeting a lot of great new people from all over the world, and I am enjoying every minute of it.

I am a bit more confident about applying the research, theories, and models I have learned. I will be back in Michigan for the Memorial Day weekend for a wedding, but then it’s back to D.C for the next three months. I will keep you updated on my adventures!