Fighting Poverty with Passion
This past month has been full of hard work. The playground build at Dolores T. Aaron went really well, and I appreciate so many of the VISTAs helping out. John Coyle and I went back on Saturday to see the completion of the playground through. We had a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed learning how to use power tools and the difference between a nut and a bolt. It was great to see so many people come together to get the project completed, and the final product looked awesome! Why don’t adults get recess? Who can I talk to about making that happen?
I also just finished mapping 300 more surveys for the Claiborne Corridor Water Collaborative. I learned how to geocode addresses and put them on the map which is a) an AWESOME tool, b) so much faster than the way I had been doing it and c) a perfect way to map census data, surveys, and anything using street address and location data at anywhere from a macro-level (city) to a micro-level (street address, including side of the street). The days I work on maps fly by because I am so engrained in figuring out the best way to present certain things, in addition to how to do them. I’m also such a perfectionist when it comes to those maps. The colors, the size of the dot, the legend and the north arrow all have to be perfect. I’ll save my maps about 20 times, moving one thing over slightly or making the font a little bit bigger just so I can make something that I’m proud of. I’m excited to see the water management flood level maps get shared and hopefully make a big difference. It really renewed the Environmental Studies major within me, thinking about permeable surfaces, water runoff, consequences of standing water and flood management techniques.
With Earth Day having just passed on April 22, as well as the 25th Anniversary of Exxon Valdez, it is plain to see that the environment truly has a huge impact on public health, economic livelihood, among many other things. Our environment is the pivotal center of everything, and I would love to start becoming more of a champion for it to be respected and not ignored. Lately my passions have related heavily to public health, mental health and the environment. I wonder if there is a career combining all three. Suggestions?
In my free time recently, I have spent a lot of time looking at information on National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)’s website wondering how its possible that healthcare coverage does not cover more, if not any, of mental health services. Mental health and physical health are so intertwined that how in the world is there not mental health parity? I have spent so much of my own time researching this recently that I’m really interested in taking more action to ensure mental health parity is enforced. I will keep updating!