Center for Development of Human Services (CDHS) employees across New York State have benefited from the efforts of two interns majoring in health and wellness, Janelle Bartz and Emily Ferrier. Under the guidance of Gail Daniels, director of college partnership development for CDHS, Bartz and Ferrier are presenting health and wellness programming for all CDHS employees. CDHS is part of SUNY Research Foundation/Sponsored Programs at Buffalo State.
Their effort includes a monthly newsletter with tips on promoting health and wellness with ideas for exercise and nutrition. “We try to make it topical,” said Ferrier. “So we had healthy recipes for Halloween and for Thanksgiving.”
Bartz (pictured at left), who earned an associate’s degree in physical education before enrolling in Buffalo State’s health and wellness program, said, “We created a ‘Walktober Challenge,’ and we challenged people to walk 79 miles—the average distance between CDHS offices.”
“Some people even used a pedometer to record their daily totals in a log,” said Ferrier (pictured at right).
Daniels is delighted with the positive effect the students have had on CDHS employees. “It’s good for morale,” said Daniels. “It’s a way to let our associates know that we really do care about their health and well-being.”
Daniels also constructed the internship to provide the students Bartz and Ferrier with a variety of meaningful real-world opportunities. “Gail does a great job of working with our students,” said Scott Roberts, chair of the Health and Wellness Department. “Our program is noted for the interpersonal skills and job-readiness of our graduates, and Gail helps us reach that goal.”
CDHS holds its own flu shot clinic, and Daniels asked the two interns to provide additional services to employees who took part. “We calculated people’s body mass index and took their rates,” said Bartz, “and we gave people the results as motivators to make healthy choices.”
Another special project was the creation of a cooking video, recorded in the Caudell Hall kitchen by CDHS video crew members Terry Todoroff and Lou Mang. “We made a chicken and vegetable stir-fry,” said Ferrier, “and a fruit salad with yogurt for desert.” The video will be available on the CDHS website.
To broaden the experience, Daniels leveraged CDHS’s relationship with the Amherst Central School District to give both young women the opportunity to present a health and wellness lesson plan at Windermere Boulevard Elementary School. They showed first- and second-graders how much food a person should eat from each of the five food groups. “We cut out pictures of food from magazines to help the students learn what a healthy plate of food looks like,” said Bartz.” Another presentation—this time to 3- and 4-year-olds—is planned.
“I learned so much,” said Bartz, who plans to pursue a graduate program in dietetics and nutrition after graduating in December.
“It was everything I hoped for and more,” said Ferrier, an exchange student from the University of South Australia where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. “I looked for a program that would give me hands-on, practical experience, and Buffalo State was the most promising. Plus I saw snow for the first time!”
Photos: Michael Niman