This Spring 2022 semester we were so blessed to have two AMAZING interns from the University of Houston, Sidney and Tracy! Both interns worked so hard over the last few months while simultaneously forming beautiful friendships with the GiGi’s participants. It was delightful to watch these two young women grow into such strong, confident leaders! One of the components of their internship is that they must complete a health-related project of their choosing.
Our intern Sidney designed, planned, and implemented a “Healthy Hearts” program for individuals with Down syndrome! The goal of “Healthy Hearts” is to promote wellness for individuals with Down syndrome by educating and inspiring them to take the first step towards healthy lives! She created a lesson plan and sent each individual home with a goodie bag that included lots of materials relevant to her program design.
Our intern Tracy designed, created, and promoted a Nutritional Mini-lesson involving the food pyramid. Each participant was called to the front of the class where they helped assemble a food pyramid. This interactive and engaging game was a great way to get the GiGi Prep students excited about health and wellness!
We are so sad to see these wonderful ladies go, but we know they will carry the acceptance and love they found at GiGi’s into all their future endeavors! Read below to learn what Sidney and Tracy had to say about their projects!
Sidney’s Healthy Hearts Program
“My name is Sidney Anderson, I am currently wrapping up my final semester at the University of Houston and will be graduating as a double major in Health and Psychology this May. I worked at GiGi’s Playhouse this semester in order to complete my senior internship program and implemented the Healthy Hearts program. My idea when creating this program was to help educate and inspire individuals to take the first step towards living healthier lives. I created a lesson plan that covered a brief introduction and overview of nutrition and physical activity, which included group discussions, worksheets, a craft, and an obstacle course for the individuals to apply the information. The implementation of this program was for the individuals to understand the importance of healthy choices by providing them with the necessary information and answers by using the 5W1H strategy. This strategy is used to help organize and obtain specific goals, performance measures, and motivate engagement. The 5W1H strategy was used for explaining; who the program was targeting, what is nutrition and physical activity, when should the individuals practice healthy lifestyles choices, where they could implement these choices, why it is important to choose healthier options, and how they can incorporate the required amount of fruits/vegetables and physical activity into their everyday lives. All the information and activities given during the program were specific to individuals with down syndrome, such as their daily requirement of fruits, vegetables, and activity which included both fine and gross motor skills. Additionally, I sent each individual home with a goodie bag that I created, which contained a healthy snack, informational brochure with statistics for their parents or guardians, and a nutritional activity sheet challenge. Healthy Hearts had an amazing turnout and participation rate, I am truly honored to have had the opportunity to work alongside such amazing people while being able to inspire, educate, and make a lasting impact on all of the participants of my program.”
Tracy’s Nutritional Mini Lesson
” My name is Tracy Dong, and I am a senior studying Public Health at the University of Houston. During the last several months being an intern at GiGi’s Playhouse, I have learned a lot about Down syndrome and the importance of health and life skills. I assisted with GiGi prep and noticed that participants were learning about healthy versus unhealthy foods. Hence, I wanted to create a visually appealing program by presenting a mini-lesson promoting nutrition and healthy eating. I created a food pyramid and foods that belonged to their respective categories, so that on prep day, I would have each participant come up and ask them, “what food this is?”, and “which food group does this belong to?”. Additionally, we have decided to ask, “Should you eat a lot of this, moderately, or less?” for them to gain an understanding of the word ‘moderation’. The message that I wanted to convey to participants is that it is important to understand the concept of balance and taking into consideration on how much of a food that a person is consuming. Overall, I had a grand experience working with participants. With this project, I hope that this will aspire and motivate future participants to engage in healthy eating behaviors and am glad that I was able to make a contribution during my time at GiGi’s!”