Armed with fun activities and educational materials, volunteers with the USF Health Service Corps embarked on one of their first projects of the year—promoting good nutrition and fitness habits to Tampa refugees from Burma, Iraq, and several countries in Africa.
On Saturday, January 11, St. Mary’s Ethiopian Orthodox Church dedicated their community garden. Attendees toured the grounds and participated in health education activities coordinated by the Service Corps.
“Volunteers led interactive nutrition education, fitness, dancing, gardening and even beekeeping stations,” said Ellen Kent, MPH, CPH, coordinator of the USF Health Service Corps, as well as student research grants and the Sunshine ERC in the USF College of Public Health.
USF Health students weren’t the only Bulls in attendance. Professor Roberta Baer, PhD, and her students from the Department of Anthropology will soon interview members of the refugee community. They attended the fair to become better acquainted with the various groups and lend a helping hand.
The Service Corps has a long standing relationship with the local refugee community. Most recently, students teamed with the Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force for two Gardening Service Days and a health fair for the Ethiopian community. Additional activities planned for later this year benefit refugees of Ethiopian and Burmese descent.
The USF Health Service Corps is an interdisciplinary program that enables students in the health professions to participate in community activities together. During the ’12-’13 academic year, more than 1000 students practiced their passion by volunteering 16,000+ hours and serving more than 15,000 adults and children.
Story by Natalie D. Preston and photos by Ellen Kent, USF College of Public Health
Tampa Bay Gardens Nutrition and Fitness Fest Picasa photo gallery
Garden Provides Community, Prospective Income to Refugees