On Feb. 12, junior Sage Teasley held a talk about her experiences working on public health projects in Guatemala as a part of the Global Public Service Academies (GPSA) for Health during B-block of eighth period.
“I think the program is really great because it’s more than a mission trip,” Teasley said. “We did medical work in clinics and gave public health presentations in the clinics and schools, I feel like we really made a difference to the people in the communities we were in.”
The GPSAs were founded with an understanding with an understanding that students from high school through college can make a difference in the world, even though they lack certain medical degrees and other qualifications. All of the academies are summer experiences in the developing world formed around an educational collaboration with faculty from many universities around the country.
As participants, students will be able to work alongside a faculty member in the classroom and in the developing world setting so that they can improve health care for the poor along with other conditions. By staying with a local family, students will also have the chance to know what their lives are like firsthand and be able to better connect with the society that they are helping.
“The entire experience was incredible,” Teasley said. “Honestly, the thing I remember most from the summer are the people I met and lived with, and being on my own more or less. I think I grew a lot and I don’t think of or take things the same way I did before I went.”
A way to make a difference in the world and also have an insight into what life is like a developing country, many students who went to Teasley’s explanation of the summer activity were both interested and hopeful that they could attend in the coming summer.
“This is something that I’m thinking about doing as a career later in life and I think it would be an incredibly valuable experience,” junior Alexis Jenkins said. “I love learning about different cultures and languages, so that would be a lot of fun and I also hope to get some hands-on experience practicing medicine, which is something I can’t do in the States.”
Hoping she may have inspired many Jefferson students to follow her lead and join a GSPA this coming summer, Teasley tried to focus her presentation on what the program is, and explaining what the students could expect in Guatemala based on her experiences. Her only goal going into the room was the encourage people to consider and apply for the program for the coming summer, and did her best to convince them that it is a truly unique program.
“My experience last summer was incredible and it really changed my perspective on things. Giving the presentation was actually enjoyable because I kept having flashbacks to when I was in Guatemala,” Teasley said. “I’m going back this summer as a leader in training and I could not be more excited. I can’t wait.”
Check out www.gpsa.org to apply to the GPSA for Health and start making a difference in people’s lives!