Healthy, Well-thy, and Wise in Evanston, IL

For three weeks this past spring, Global Project Hope members at Northwestern University pioneered the Healthy, Well-thy, and Wise program at the Dewey Elementary School in Evanston, IL. The project used our newest iteration of the workbook and served over 30 students!

Here is a journal post by Priyanka Jadhav, one of our members at Northwestern University, to talk about the experience!

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My name is Priyanka Jadhav, and teaching this last quarter as a member of Global Project Hope proved to be one of the most interactive and immersive experiences I could have undertaken! At Northwestern, there are plenty of opportunities to provide funding for or analyze research that allows larger organizations to make an impact; however, Global Project Hope allowed me to become personally involved in improving healthcare on a local level. From the first meeting, it was clear that everyone involved in this organization was invested in making an impact, whether it be through personally teaching at Dewey Elementary School or shaping the curriculum to be relatable and interactive.

Teaching at the elementary school probably taught me more than I taught the students. As a premedical student, I’ve only really learned about the science behind leading a healthy lifestyle. Through Global Project Hope, in one sense I had the opportunity to finally experience the translational element of healthcare, to connect with students around me and to feel like I was actually making an impact in their life. The biggest takeaway from my experience was definitely the relationship I built with my students; consistently working with the same group of kids allowed for us to form a strong relationship, to the point where I saw one of my students on the weekend and she excitedly asked for me to stay and watch her chorus sing at a local park. Through those relationships, I think not only that students were more receptive to what I taught them, but also allowed them to be comfortable in vocalizing issues they didn’t usually to figures of authority, which allows for us to adapt our curriculum to focus on relevant issues.

Furthermore, I think that all of us developed a much greater recognition for the distribution of healthcare information. Two students from upper class backgrounds could recite how many servings of fruits and vegetables should be eaten a day, while one student from a lower income background frequented McDonalds for breakfast. There was a significant divide between students who practiced routine hygiene, enforced to their dismay by their “annoying parents”, and a student who hadn’t showered in three days because no one was at home to “make them.” This experience proved that just as important as research may be, equally as important is making sure that the knowledge is passed on and acted upon, as it can be quite difficult to integrate information to the broader community to make an impact. I hope to continue to work with Global Project Hope for the next few years to come, and am excited to see the impact that just a few years can make on the community around us!