Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Peer Health Exchange Experience

Fall semester of my sophomore year at Fordham, I joined a national organization based out of Fordham, called Peer Health Exchange, or PHE. Originally, I had joined on behalf of a good friend, who relayed to me that they were short on recruitment. I did not expect to have such a rewarding experience with the program, nor to gain the knowledge and friendships I have made during my time with PHE. 
This is the whole national organization's goal!
Peer Health Exchange is a volunteer organization, which recruits, selects, and trains college students to teach in low-income, urban high schools. PHE believes that health education is critical to a high school student's experience, and partners with schools to provide or supplement their health education programs. The college student volunteers, or Health Educators (H.E.s), learn the curriculum to bring to the classrooms, and act as approachable and relatable mentors to the high school students. H.E.s teach four workshop units: Reflection, Communication & Advocacy, Accessing Resources, and Decision Making. These workshops, while giving students valuable knowledge, also empower them to make informed choices that can contribute to all areas of their lives. 
My PHE materials!
I have taught the Accessing Resources workshops for my entire PHE experience. Accessing Resources focuses on giving students the knowledge they need to find valid information on their own health questions, with an emphasis on sexual health. I have walked away from classrooms countless times feeling as if I had delivered to students information that they could benefit from. It has been so rewarding for me to see the students further question me about facts, and knowing that I gave them the knowledge and skills they can use to make choices that are right for them. 

I too, have benefitted from my time with PHE. Thanks to my training, I have become a more confident public speaker, and learned a lot about making healthy decisions that I did not know before. I have gotten involved with the Bronx community around Fordham, and established friendships within the Fordham community that I would have otherwise never made. I look forward to the remaining time I will spend with PHE, as it has become an incredibly significant part of my Fordham experience. 

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