Being accepted to go on this study abroad program has enabled me to take on the role of a leader not only within Temple, but in the various communities of Jamaica as well. In the responsibilities that are accompanied with leadership lies the opportunity to positively impact others. I have had the ability to act as what the textbook we use here refers to as the change agent: one who creates change.Prior to departing for Jamaica, we were told to give areas in which we were specifically interested in working. Being a kinesiology major, I felt that working with public health issues would give me projects that were related to exercise. During the first couple of days, we went to the variety of sites available for work that have a need in areas we were interested in. This included the primary school–which is equivalent to our elementary school–high school, The Rural Agricultural Development Agency (RADA), women’s center, and public health office.
While viewing each site, I saw something that struck an interest and made me think to myself “I could work here”. But I can only spread myself so thin before compromising the quality of my work. So after taking a look at all of the options, I chose to work at the following three sites:One of the sites I have chosen to work with is RADA. This was one of the first sites we visited whose mission really stuck with me and made me want to get involved in making a difference. One of the biggest problems Jamaican farmers are currently facing is the battle in understanding the ways global warming is affecting climate change, and, in turn, finding the most effective ways to combat it. RADA is currently trying to conduct surveys to find out the extent of the farmers knowledge on climate change, as well as what they want to know about it. Information is then created and distributed to farmers in order to be proactive about potential issues that come along with climate change. This is the area of the project I am responsible for. What drew me in was with the opportunity to become more familiar with the environment and the local farmers here on the island.
The second site I have chosen to work at is within two branches of public health. On Tuesdays I work in Princess Margret Hospital in the physiotherapy department where I work closely with the only physical therapist in the hospital. I was excited that they had a PT department. I felt blessed with the opportunity to be able to work at my ideal site because I was anticipating to settle with anything exercise related. The second branch of public health I will be working in is with the nutritionist on the site who runs a special exercise program for diabetics every Wednesday. As a personal trainer, this was an area I was prepared to work with. I was specifically interested in a workout program that targeted the growing population that suffer from chronic disease.
The last site I will be working with is Yallahs Primary School in the physical education department. This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to teach or work with a group of kids, which I am greatly looking forward to.In comparing the amount of sites I have taken upon myself with the number everyone else has, it is clear I have a lot. But I take my role as a leader seriously. I have the capacity and ability to help and influence the lives of many. Now that I have the ability to make an impact on the communities here in many different ways, the Jamaica in me will not let any of these opportunities pass me by.