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A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Education in Prevention: Katie Hayes ’28 at Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley in Dayton, OH

       Most people will think of Goodwill as a non-profit store with affordable and gently used clothes, but Goodwill is actually part of a company that goes beyond that. Goodwill Easterseals Miami Valley highlights the empowerment of people with disabilities and disadvantages to improve quality life and achieve independency. There are a variety of programs and departments. A few examples are behavorial health, job readiness, senior and youth services, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse prevention, which is the program that I have an internship within.

       One of the main things I do interning as a prevention specialist, is travelling to different schools across Montgomery County to give life skill lessons and presentations on medication safety and prevention. The grades we provide and present to range from second grade through high school. When doing life skills with the younger students (second-eighth grade), we usually do activities to provide support in communication, teamwork, creativity, and sensory-aiding activities with art, music, and even gardening! With the older students (eighth-twelth grade), we provide presentations on medication safety and disposal, mental health awareness and bullying prevention, along with activities, games and prizes for the students to stay engaged.

For one of the presentations, our advisors let my friend and co-worker, Alejandra and I lead a science project where we took 3 cups and filled them up with powdered sugar, cornstarch, and baking soda. We then put vinegar in each of the cups, where only one had a reaction of fizzing up. This experiment was to show the students that they must be careful when it comes to substances, and why you should never take a medication that wasn’t provided by your doctor, as the medication may be laced and not what you think it may be. The cups represent the human body, the powders represent our organs, and the vinegar represents the medication, and would provide the reaction to show that although it looks normal, it could react to your body differently and very dangerously. This was one of my favorite experiments to do with the students, as it was fun, effective, and educational.

When the prevention team and I are not travelling between schools, we often hold meetings at the main campus discussing various topics, such as future curriculum plans, different counties we can reach out to and partner with, community events, or even informational meetings on prevention and trauma-response care. This has been a very exciting experience as there is something new to do each week, whether it be a new school to go to, new projects to help with, or new plans for the future. I’m thankful for this co-op and the contributions it brings to the community.

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Hello! My name is Katie, and I am part of the class of 2028. I am currently pursuing a degree in psychology and education, and art takes the cake for my favorite hobby. Remember to drink plenty of water, and I hope you have a splendid day!

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