Hometown: Culver, Ind.
Education: Indiana University | Purdue University
Hobbies: I have a background as a make-up artist and I enjoy using those skills from time to time, whether it’s helping friends prep for a wedding or exploring my creative side during Halloween. I really enjoy working out, especially pilates and hiking. I’ve dabbled in Crossfit and yoga, too. I also have a great family! My husband also works for a non-profit and was really excited for me to experience this type of work when I came to HSC. I have two high-school aged kids. I love experimenting with healthy recipes for home cooked meals and the occasional gluten free treats.
Who are you?
I am the training and program manager here at HSC. I spearhead Fit to Learn, which trains teachers on different ways to incorporate fitness and nutrition into the existing curriculum. With the limitations teachers face throughout the day and the specific curriculum guidelines they have to follow, it’s hard to be flexible or incorporate fitness information into the lessons.
Our program is a simple way to introduce fitness to students and let them know it’s important without skipping school guidelines. One of the lessons, for example, involves the students tossing a multi-colored beach ball around the room. When a student catches it they have to think of a fruit or vegetable the same color as the area of the ball where their thumbs land. They then have to spell it while doing jumping jacks.
My role also includes other programs, especially fundraising through the Cooking up Change auction and raffle and coordinating training for the School Nurse Program. I like to call myself an ant, because I carry twice my weight.
What makes your job great?
It combines my passion for food, nutrition and wellness with the ability to train and develop teachers to have that same passion and share it with students. I also have a background as a trainer. For seven years, I taught makeup artists for a cosmetics line. I wanted to take my skill as a trainer and put it towards issues that I really care about.
Why did you join HSC?
The organization hit all the things that were important to me—green cleaning, food and nutrition, fitness. I also knew they were expanding and valued people with the skills to keep their programs growing. After talking to different people, I saw that they had great programs in place, and they were committed to making a difference. There are a lot of other organizations making strides in health and education, but HSC was at the forefront. I wanted to be a part of that.
When did you come to HSC?
I started volunteering for HSC in August 2009 after I was downsized from my job as a makeup artist. I had a growing interest in health and wellness, specifically around children. My son has ADHD, and food is a big factor in helping to keep that in check. Volunteering seemed like the perfect opportunity to attempt a career change. I ended up volunteering here for a year. Then, luckily, HSC found a position for me. I’ve been happily employed since August 2010.
Where does your motivation come from?
I remember taking our kids to dinner at Portillo’s—which is not something we do very often—and I remember looking around at all these kids, drinking large cokes, eating hot dogs and fries. Some of the kids were clearly overweight, and it broke my heart to think about what they must going through—not feeling healthy, being bullied, probably not active in sports, plus all of the health issues that will come down the road.
Since I had already started thinking more about my own family’s health, I wanted to help change that. I also recently found out I have an issue with gluten. That has really impacted how we eat. Now, I pretty much make everything from scratch. Being here has brought me to a whole new level about being mindful of what we put in our bodies.