My Name is Caroline Reis and I have had a busy and fun filled internship this summer at the American Heart Association. Another intern, Ricki Cullum, and myself have worked on several community health and development projects, attended education and outreach events and learn how a national health organization directs its efforts towards improving the health and well being of Washington residents.
As a soon to be senior at the University of Washington I am eager to take my Bachelors in Public Health and apply it to preventative health approaches to better the lives of Americans while contributing to a sustainable culture of health. (Ricki is graduating from Western Washington University with a Bachelors in Community Health and is passionate about combatting chronic diseases and promoting disease prevention.)
Over the past two months we have been working to integrate the new Life is Why brand into our outreach events to get individuals thinking about what it is that makes them happy, gets them through the day and motivates them to live a healthy life free of heart disease and stroke. At first people were caught off guard when prompted to think about their “why,” but when 4 year old Ben confidently said “my DOG is why!” it became less daunting and more inspiring.
What is my why? When I was 12 years old, my father had a coronary stent put in his heart. I had no idea what it meant for my family and my father’s livelihood, but I knew that I wanted others to live a life free of hardships brought on by heart disease and poor health.
Above all else, this summer has given Ricki and I the opportunity to connect with people on an individual level while putting into motion broader ideas about why healthy choices, outlooks and actions provide the most powerful motivation for improving the health of our community, nation and world.
Take five minutes today to think about your why. Write it on a sticky note and keep it in a place you see everyday. Is it your Family? Friends? Being outdoors? Photography? Laughter? To help others? Take part in the enjoyment Ricki and I have found when putting to action Life is Why in your community!