I didn’t make an announcement about it here on the blog, but last month I completed my Associate’s in Applied Science in Nutrition!
When you complete a degree as broad as nutrition, there are many avenues for entry-level employment. My year-long internship covered the realms of clinical, food service, and community nutrition. By the end of all three rotations, I definitely knew which one I was most passionate about: community nutrition. If it has to do with public health, especially providing sound nutrition counsel to regular people, I am THERE. (If only the money were there, too–badum ching!) But though I felt pretty confident that the kind of job I would be looking for was in the realm of community nutrition, my job search had one small snag. A good snag, but a snag nonetheless. You see, our family has plans to go on a once-in-a-lifetime three-month trip to Europe this summer. I knew I couldn’t go get a full-time job and ask for three months off right off the bat. This left me wondering if I should try to get any job at all, or just wait until we return.
As a praying person, I had been asking God to make clear the best course of action. The story is too long to go into at the moment, but essentially, out of nowhere, my prayers were answered in abundance. A job was dropped into my lap like a golden nugget from heaven–a part-time job doing something I absolutely love: sharing healthy lifestyle education with the public. I am now…drumroll please…the newest “Heart Guide” at the American Heart Association’s Halle Heart Children’s Museum in Tempe, AZ!
This museum is the only one of its kind: an interactive space for children and adults to learn all about the human heart and what behaviors and lifestyle choices we can make to prevent heart disease. As a Heart Guide, a major part of my job is taking field trip groups of second and fifth graders on a guided tour through the museum’s eight main exhibits. Over the course of two hours, I explain the importance of healthy diet, exercise, and not using tobacco. The eight exhibits include:
- The Kitchen Cafe, where kids learn about label reading, portion control, and getting the right amount of fat for heart health
- The Marketplace, a mini grocery store where kids use an interactive scanning game to build a healthy meal
- The 9-1-1 Action Theater, which teaches kids how and when to call 9-1-1 for emergencies like heart attack or stroke
- The All Creatures Great and Small exhibit, which compares animal and human hearts
- The Goldman Legacy Theater, an old-timey movie theater that plays movies that pertain to heart health
- The Stay on Course exhibit, which explains the damage tobacco does to the cardiovascular system and has kids try to putt a ball (representing a blood cell) through an artery constricted by smoking
- The Beat Goes On, an area that gets kids exercising right in the middle of the museum, including playing a lively game of Fruit Ninja on the Xbox Kinect
- Follow Your Heart, aka “The Big Heart” exhibit pictured at the top of this post. (Why yes, that IS a life-size blue whale heart in the center.)
As a Heart Guide, I’ll also be the new contributor to the museum’s blog, writing posts that provide healthy recipes or interpret the American Heart Association’s nutrition guidelines in simple, easy-to-read language. And I’m looking forward to helping out with events and programs, like their Toddler Test Kitchen, Science Hour, and Healthy Cooking Demonstrations offered on a weekly and monthly basis. Check out their Events page to see what’s coming up!
If you live in the Phoenix area, I’d love to see you visit! Admission for adults and kids 4 and older is only $5–by far the best deal in town for a children’s museum. Or you can purchase their Groupon, which is ongoing. (You can also just mention that Sarah sent you and see what kind of discount you get…I promise it will be substantial.) To teach your kids about healthy lifestyle choices–and learn a lot yourself–the Halle Heart Children’s Museum is an awesome place.