Hey! My name is Joshua Levy and I am an advocacy intern for the American Heart Association--Greater Bay Area!
Currently, I am a student attending the University of California, Berkeley pursuing a degree in Physics. But don’t let the degree fool you. Although I am interested in the sciences, my true passion lays in helping others and making sure that we all have the potential to live healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.
I chose to intern for the American Heart Association because of my background in sports, exercise, community outreach and my desire to work in the Public Health in the future. I have been a coach for the Special Olympics for five years and have been coaching youth basketball for one year. These programs, amongst a lot of self-education on these issues, helped me realize that many people did not have equal access to a healthy lifestyle. I witnessed first-hand that some of my players who came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds did not have as much access to physical activities as those who came from more affluent backgrounds. Although this concept was not new to me, it cemented my firm belief in the overarching value of public health and providing everyone with the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle.
Sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets, as well as neighborhood environmental factors are causing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease to proliferate around the nation, especially in youth. As an athlete, this trend has greatly concerned me as my extensive experience in athletics has made me realize the benefits that one gets from staying active. Furthermore, I believe in the proverbial phrase: “better body, better mind”. Not only do I believe that physical activity results in a healthier body, my research at the AHA supports that there are many cognitive benefits that one can get from staying active.
So that is exactly my aim this summer working for the American Heart Association: I want to help provide kids the opportunity for equal access to Physical Education. I am working on advocating to local school districts to provide regular and quality Physical Education for their elementary school students. I am digging into the heart of this issue to find out how we can work with school districts so that all kids have the opportunity to grow up learning healthy habits needed to sustain lifelong healthy lifestyles.
Once again, I am very pleased to be working for the American Heart Association this summer. I hope that my time here will provide me with the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the community and the tools with which to influence change later on in life.
Together, we can make a difference in the community. All it takes is one heart at a time!