Epidemiology Reflection #1 Axinn

After exploring the Community Health Survey, our group identified the Bronx as the New York City borough with statistically significant lower consumption of fruits and vegetables than other boroughs. An analysis of the data of the Community Health Survey, indicated that the Bronx, when compared with the other boroughs, contained one of the highest percentages of residents who consumed zero servings of fruits and vegetables per day. On average, the results of the Community Health Survey revealed that 12.2% of the population of New York City consumed no servings of fruits and vegetables per day, 77.7% consumed one to four servings, and 10.1% consumed five or more servings. In Kingsbridge, an area in central Bronx, 17.7% of the population consumed no servings of fruits and vegetables regularly, a percentage far above the City’s average. This statistic is particularly concerning given the small quantity of fruits and vegetables that qualify as one serving. According to the Community Health Survey, one medium apple, a handful of broccoli, or a cup of carrots equal one serving of fruits and vegetable.

There is a startling disparity in the consumption of fruits and vegetables between Kingsbridge and other higher income areas in the City. When you compare Kingsbridge with my neighborhood of Park Slope, the statistics reveal a divide of 13% between the neighborhoods reports of residents consuming no servings of fruits and vegetables. In Park Slope, only 3.8% of the population reported they consume no servings of fruits and vegetables per day compared with 17.7% in Kingsbridge. Our group believed that the disparity of reported consumption of fruits and vegetables might be linked to the high costs and limited access to fruits and vegetables in low income areas. When compared with the high income area of Park Slope, Kingsbridge has a higher availability of fast food options which are less expensive than the cost of fruits and vegetables.  

Access to reasonably priced fruits and vegetables is a critical component of consumer consumption. One explanation for the Bronx’s conspicuously low consumption of fruits and vegetables is that the residents of the Bronx lack access to grocery stores and markets where they can purchase fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. The Bronx also has a disproportionately high number of fast food restaurants in comparison with other boroughs. Fast food chains tend to offer highly processed foods at low prices, appealing to low-income families. These fast food chains typically offer limited to no servings of vegetable and fruit in their dishes.

In order to combat the limited availability of healthy eating options in the Bronx, my group proposed to open the Kingsbridge Food Coop, a community oriented grocery store offering healthy foods at reasonable prices. We believe that a Coop would not only provide residents in the Bronx with access to healthy eating options, but could provide community health and wellness programs that foster healthy eating. With $30,000 of our budget designated to community organized events, one of the goals of the coop is to educate members on nutrition and health. The coop hopes to host events seasonally that teach members the importance of healthy eating and a balanced diet. Food demonstrations with samplings coupled with discussion based conversations with the coop’s nutritionist, will inform the members of the community of the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption, stressing the positive correlation between a balanced diet and disease prevention. Our hope is that members will learn not only the nutritional benefits of eating fruits and vegetables but also how to cook and enjoy a range of healthful foods. Our hope is that these healthier choices of foods would lead to other healthy lifestyle choices.

Working with my group on our grant proposal, has deepened my commitment to issues of equitable access to healthy foods. Exploring the situation in Kingsbridge has motivated me to think about the role I can have in minimizing this gap. This issue of access to healthy foods has been on my mind since last year, when we had several conversations in biology class about the food deserts in low income neighborhoods on New York. I am particularly fascinated by the science of healthy eating. When I learned about the role of macromolecules in biology class, I began to understand the biological makeup of food and the specific health benefits that are associated with a balanced diet. I was hooked by the idea that the food we choose to put into our bodies impacts the way our bodies feel and respond to stimulus. As a result, I have encouraged myself to eat a more balanced diet, focusing on whole, real food ingredients, and encouraged my family to cook more meals at home. This project was the next step in helping me apply these biological principles beyond my own life to a larger population within an area experiencing food inequity.

Asking people to make lifestyle changes is hard and routines can be difficult to break. The Kingsbridge Food Coop would have to spend significant amounts of time and resources to gain members and create significant lifestyle changes. I believe, though, that once the initial group of members sign-up and experience the benefits of both access to fresh foods and the supportive community within the coop, the place will take off. Overtime, I imagine the coop will be a source of light and inspiration in lives of its members and beyond. While there will always be some holdouts, my hope is that fruit and vegetable consumption rises to the level of neighborhoods such as Park Slope and that income and access no longer deter healthy eating.

Mali’s Summer Service

Over the first week of summer vacation, I participated in the AMC Teen Spike Trail Crew from Camp Dodge in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Over the course of four days, I worked with a group of six volunteers and two trail leaders to maintain the Appalachian Trail up in New Hampshire. During the week, we camped out in a cleared off area alongside the trail and woke up every morning to complete trail maintenance work. Prior to this crew, I had no experience with trail work and was not sure what to expect.

 

After four full days of work, my group successfully replaced two water bars and created three new check steps along a hundred yard stretch of the Appalachian Trial. Over the course of four days, I gained an understanding of what the words trail maintenance really means. For my group, trail work included a combination of working with tool and using body strength to quarry, move, and set rocks. Although the task of moving a rock might seem like a minor accomplishments for a group of eight people, hours and hours of work went into each step of the task. Each day was incredibly exhausting and oftentimes very unrewarding. My experience working on the trail truly showed me the importance of patience and persistence. I learned pretty quickly that more often than not the rock you intend to place into the ground is not going to fit. My group quarries and attempted to set four different rocks in our hole before one fit correctly.

 

Overallm I really enjoyed my time working as an AMC volunteer. It was exciting to try something new and learn about trail maintenance. I learned that there is also no feeling more rewarding than  finally managing to set a rock. My experience in the trails also gave me a great appreciation for food cooked on a stove and beds with mattress. I would definitely do it again!

Mali’s Service Reflection

Throughout the year, I worked with Katherine Farrell as a student ambassador helping to arrange events, expand social media, and create more interaction between Friends students and Alumni. The largest and most significant task that I completed was organizing the 2015 Friends Homecoming panel for the seniors.  Jada and I worked closely together to select Friends alumni who could share with the senior class their experiences moving from college to the work world. In order to select a panel, we sent out a survey to the senior class asking them about their interests and the types of professions they would be interested in learning about. The results of the survey showed that networking was the main topic of interest for the seniors. Once we had the topic, Jada and wrote emails to young alumni asking if they’d be interested in speaking to the seniors during Homecoming. Some of the alumni responded to these emails immediately, while others waited months before declining. This email exchange was entirely new for me and often made it very complicated to know our next steps.

After months of exchanging emails, Jada and I finally had enough alumni to speak about networking at the event. During Homecoming, Jada and I facilitated the panel for the seniors, taking turns to ask directed questions of the alumni. This experience taught me a lot about the challenges of working with alumni and arranging an event, however, it also opened helped me see that I liked having a leadership role in planning and facilitating the event.  I look forward to working as a student ambassador next year and continuing to expand my understanding of development work.

Mali’s Service Reflection

Over spring break I travelled to Peru with a group of 12 Friends students. Over the course of two weeks, we hiked, swam, toured, bonded, and immersed ourselves in Peruvian culture. With the assistance of our amazing Envoys guides, our group was able to experience Peru both as tourists and as insiders. We participated in the predictable tourist activities like visiting Machu Picchu, the salt mines, and many ruins but we also spent time with local Peruvians and completed a service project in the Amazon rainforest.

I learned the most about Peruvian culture from my home stay family. For seven nights, I was able to spend time with my home stay family and experience everyday Peruvian life. My family took me to multiple birthday celebrations where they shared with me many unfamiliar dishes that may or may not have been guinea pig. My family taught me Peruvian dances, such as salsa, and showed me a different meaning to the word family. The extended family of my host family lived within a 5 block radius of each other and they engaged with each other many times everyday. I noticed that my home-stay brother spent more time with his cousin than I do with my brother even though we live in the same house. In comparison to the Americans, Peruvians seem to value family more. When returning home to New York, I tried to bring back with me the kindness of home-stay family, and their belief in the importance of family.

Another meaningful experience was completing our service project in the Amazon. After a long morning of swimming, both in the river and the pool, and a delicious lunch at the beautiful reserve, our group got onto a boat and travelled for around twenty minutes to a family farm. That afternoon, we planted 50 trees under the burning Amazonian sun in an area that had been deforested. It was great to get down and dirty under the sun and it felt incredibly rewarding to know that we were helping both the environment and the Peruvian family. The next day we went to another farm and planted 30 trees. The families of each farm were appreciative of the work we did on their farms and rewarded us with fresh grapefruits and coconut water and an archery lesson. Thanks to our amazing supervisors and group. I had an incredible time in a beautiful country. I know that I’ll remember the experiences I had in Peru for the rest of my life.

 

Ashley and my host-familes

Ashley and my host-familes

 

 

Volunteering in Amazon

Volunteering in Amazon

 

Selfie-Stick in Macchu

Selfie-Stick in Macchu

Mali’s YPI Reflection

Mali Axinn

Jamie Lieberman

World History 1

May 8, 2014

Service Learning Reflection

The social issue my group chose to discuss was education. Our concern was that students around New York City are deprived of adequate educational opportunities. My group learned that there is a direct correlation between poverty and educational opportunity. We chose to advocate for The Door, a non-profit organization that provides services and programs to young people who are struggling with poverty and/or homelessness. The Door serves over 11,000 teenagers a year from all over the metropolitan area.  At the Door, students are offered educational opportunities such as GED programs and other academic tutoring and arts programs to help them move forward with their lives and develop career interests.

The teenagers who use the services of the Door often lack the opportunities and educational foundations that we take for granted. It’s hard to understand what it’s like for the teenagers at the Door because I’ve never experienced poverty and enjoy educational privileges that are not available to them.  In my own life, I’m able to give my full attention to my schoolwork because I come back every day to a room that’s my own and dinner cooked by my mom. In many cases, the teenagers at The Door are so focused on daily survival that they don’t have time to complete their education or work towards a career. During my visit to The Door, I was reminded of what life is like outside the private school bubble and my own relatively carefree life.

I think that incorporating the YPI initiative into our coursework helped me to appreciate that teenagers living in the City sometimes have very different opportunities then I do. It helped me understand my own privileges and made me want to effect change in the lives of others.  The YPI initiative has allowed me to think about my own role as a responsible citizen and how I can be an effective contributor to my community. I hope that someday I can return as a volunteer to The Door and help the teenagers get a better chance in life.

http://www.door.org/
Door