My name is Trevor Leahy and I am a graduating Public Health Student at Fort Lewis College, this summer I had the pleasure of interning with Celebrating Healthy Communities under Pat Senecal, Cody Goss, and Breeah Kinsella. From the very beginning it was clear that I wasn’t going to any ordinary internship where I make copies all day or fetch someone’s coffee, but I would be working with a group of experienced individuals who have a real ability to improve a community that I care about -Durango.
When I was looking for internships I wanted to work for someone that does things a little differently and the opportunity to write a grant, and I got exactly what I was looking for; CHC has the ability to make a significant difference by using evidence-based research to identify problems with the community and proposes positive, sustainable ways to fix them. Fortunately the majority of the work I did was not particularly routine, and I was given the opportunity to work on a variety of special projects.
Throughout the summer I represented CHC at a variety of outreach events to promote the developmental assets and the designated Driver campaign, designed my own outreach event for the incoming freshman at FLC, and attended meetings of many community organizations to further my own understanding of the impressionable populations in La Plata County. From what I experienced working with the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, encouraging healthy relationships among youth, adults, and families using the science of the positive was an incredibly effective strategy of deterring alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. It was amazing to witness how efficient the operation has to be as a non-profit organization, applying for the right grants and paying attention to wasteful spending can make all of the difference in making a meaningful difference.
As an intern I learned to plan, write a grant for, implement, and evaluate my own event. This was an immensely beneficial experience to because I was able to learn a ton from Pat and Breeah about improving my networking and resource leveraging skills; important skills for any Public Health profession. Attending the Criminal Justice Coordinating Counsel’s meetings was also incredibly beneficial to my perspective, I learned that there is a lot that can be done about current state of disconnect between prevention, incarceration, and rehabilitation sectors on a county and national level. Working with Celebrating Healthy Communities was an incredible opportunity to gain real Public Health experience, and I was able to develop skills and gain key insight that I can easily use in any direction I choose to go. If you want to do something significant to make a positive impact on the families of La Plata County, I would strongly suggest working with Celebrating Healthy Communities.