My Health Story – Jamaica Simmons
I joined the Teen Advisory Council (TAC) my freshman year in high school. The TAC’s main goal is to encourage student involvement in the community, promote academic excellence, and keep students aware of health-related issues that affect our community.
One essential reason I joined the TAC is because I have a passion for giving back to others and to my community. When I became a member of the TAC I joined the Philanthropy Committee. While a part of this committee, I had various opportunities to serve the community including: food drives for Thanksgiving, water dries for the Flint Water Crisis, volunteering at local soup kitchens and raising awareness for HIV/AIDS at the Hearth Home. One project I look forward to every year is Adopt-A-Family. Every year around Christmas we take $500 out of our budget and adopt a family from the Underground Railroad (our local domestic violence survivor shelter). We go to Macy’s and try to get everything on their Christmas list. This is my favorite project because as a kid, I understand what it is like to see everyone else getting cool things for Christmas when I didn’t. So I feel very fortunate to be able to help other kids. Teen Advisory Council continues to spark my interest in community service by creating artistic ways to help others.
Another thing that encouraged me to join the TA is their persistence to academic excellence. The TAC has always promoted academic excellence among the members; to further this agenda we have introduced a Scholarship Committee. The sole purpose of the Scholarship Committee is to encourage students to get good grades and award students who improved or maintained good grades. I was elected to represent the Scholarship Chair, meaning I am the person on the executive board who is in charge of running scholarship meetings and make sure all projects are executed properly. My peers elected me to hold this position because they have experienced my overwhelming desire to help others excel academically and my peers know that I have the leadership experience to lead others.
A great aspect of the TAC is that they are sponsored by the School-Based Health Center through Great Lakes Bay Health Centers. This is significant to me because I want to be a doctor and being in the TAC grants me the opportunity to meet doctors, physicians, and health administration personnel. Talking to physicians and medical students is something I find beneficial because they give me advice about choosing a career, share their experiences in the field and encourage me.
I enjoy TAC because I have the opportunity to immerse myself in a career pathway I plan to pursue, continue to develop my passion for helping my community, and encourage myself and others to strive for academic success.
About the My Health Story Contest
School-Based Health Care Awareness Month is the time each year that we pause to celebrate the value of school-based, school-linked and school wellness programs. This year, we asked youth across Michigan to tell us how a School-Based or School-linked Health Center has improved their health and helped them to succeed in school. Contestants were asked to submit an essay about their experiences with a Health Center. Stories will be posted daily on our website beginning in February during Awareness Month to the end of April when we host advocacy day. You can see all the contest entries here.