Week One at Healthy Waltham: What I’m Doing and How

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At Healthy Waltham, everyone is passionate about eating healthy, delicious food, and helping others live well. The staff and my fellow intern are inviting, enthusiastic, and a bit on the “crunchy” side– which for me is perfect. Already, the amount of work that goes into a community organization surprises me, and it is only my first week!

Healthy Waltham is a 501 C nonprofit organization that aims to promote healthy living in the Waltham community. It originally started as a coalition to organize various existing health-orientated groups; now Healthy Waltham has several of its own projects aimed at health promotion and childhood obesity prevention. Learning Gardens with local schools and housing developments, cooking classes, and the recent River Fest are just some of the activities in which Healthy Waltham is involved. Brandeis students often intern or volunteer with Healthy Waltham, such as the Veggie Buddies club through Waltham Group.

My role as an intern at Healthy Waltham mainly revolves around recipe development, nutrition, and teaching healthy cooking to kids, teens, and adults. During the Fall 2013 semester, I volunteered with Healthy Waltham and the Chill Zone to teach middle school students how to make healthy snacks. The internship is basically a continuation and expansion of my volunteer role. Another major goal of my internship is to make the cooking classes sustainable with future interns.

In addition to the cooking classes, I am helping with internship development, grant writing, and communications as well.  After becoming more familiar with the needs and specific goals of Healthy Waltham, hopefully I can contribute fresh ideas that will help the group move forwards.

How did you get involved with Healthy Waltham, you ask? Last summer, I met Judy Fallows at a farmer’s market. After talking for a while, she mentioned that she had been looking for someone to give cooking lessons at the Chill Zone for years. The classes started the following fall and Judy was so pleased with the program that she suggested the World of Work (WOW) fellowship for when I returned from abroad. I wanted to learn more about the community side of health care and to make the cooking class sustainable, so I accepted her offer.

The first week went well and I had more fun than I expected! The people at Healthy Waltham become more inspiring as I learn more about them because they are all so passionate and have done amazing things. From helping Reva Haselkorn, the chef instructor, with her cooking class at Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, I learned so much about how to teach others that I wish I knew in the fall! Another highlight of the week was taking the ServSafe certification course so I can handle food with the public more safely.

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During the rest of the summer, I hope to learn how to encourage others to make long-term changes to their lifestyle and to learn how to earn a grant. No matter what I do in the future, I want to help people improve their health on their own. Since I am considering research as a career, knowing how to win a grant may be necessary. Although I expect to learn about certain things, the most valuable lessons I learn during this internship will come unexpected.

– Yuki Wiland, ’15

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