Shiko Wambaa | Friends of Guesthouse

Friends of Guest House is a nonprofit organization that provides re-entry support to female ex-offenders in Northern Virginia. The organization offers an array of different programs to fit the individual needs of the women in their care. In hope that I may better understand the core issues that Friends of Guesthouse hopes to address in this population of women, I have had the opportunity to work within each of the different programs they offer here. Being pre-med as well as being part of the Public Health Scholars program here at AU, I really wanted to do something health related while working for this non-profit. Part of the reason I was able to experience the different layers of the facility is because I am in the processes of creating a health promotion program plan centered around nutrition and diabetes education for recently incarcerated women living in transitional housing. Friends of Guesthouse does not currently have a program specifically relating to nutrition or diabetes. It is by first working through their already established programs, I will be able to create a health program plan that will best fit the needs of women.  Because of this, as a volunteer, I will be doing a lot of research on how to create a health focused program for these women about this issue.

I was also able to do a presentation for the women of Guesthouse on the importance of nutrition and diabetes education. This was a way to introduce the new health promotion program that will be implemented by the facility. I have had the opportunity to not just interact with the women in the facility but also had a lot of time discussing my potential plan with the women who run the organization. Going into my CSLP site, I was honestly not expecting the women to be as open to having me create a health plan for them as they were, however once I told them about my interest in health they were more than welcome to the idea. My expectations were beyond exceeded! I was happy that I could meet their need and that they could fit my interest. At first I wanted to volunteer at a hospital, however I thought going somewhere a bit unorthodox would enable me able to get a new perspective on a different population. For the class I have with Professor Free, Health Promotion and Program Planning, we are learning how to create a program plan. I will be able to connect the things I learned from her class and apply it to the work I am doing for my CSLP. I like this a lot because I know that if I have any questions I can always go to my professor for help, as well as get to apply information learned in a classroom in real communities. All this will allow me to gain a new skill set this semester!

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