Bridging the Gap Community Health Internship Program

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2021 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Annie Yang, NUR ’23

This summer, I had the honor to work with Bridging the Gap Community Health Internship Program (BTG CHIP). The program connects student interns (those who are pursuing a degree in the health profession field) with various community organizations in the city of Philadelphia with the purpose to understand the community that the organization serves. The students’ work alongside the organizations, serving as an employee, while also learning about the social issues affecting their community members. Throughout the six-week experience, the students are required to discuss either the topic of oral health, cardiovascular health, or smoking cessation with the community member per BTG requirement. I was honored to be placed in Sankofa Farms, located in the heart of Southwest Philadelphia. Sankofa is an Afrocentric agricultural organization focused on youth development, community health and food sovereignty. This four-acre farm rooted at Bartram’s Garden produces over 15,000 pounds of food yearly, and is powered by approximately 1,500 volunteers, 50 local families, and 20 high school interns. With strong local leadership and access to fresh fruits and vegetables, Sankofa Farms serves as a dynamic agricultural hub and main partner for sustaining youth development, community health, and food sovereignty. At its roots, Sankofa is derived from the Akan people of West Africa and challenges each to remain cognizant of the past while charging towards the future, the idea of “remembering” as a tool for healing and growing.

The BTG interns (me and another BTG student) supported staff in coordinating the youth program at Sankofa Farm this summer. Every Thursday afternoon, the BTG interns led thirty-minute health-related wellness workshops, followed by discussions with high school students, with the aim to ensure that the students are abiding by the farm’s expectation policies. The students and staff subsequently exchanged feedback on common areas of improvement utilizing the I-statement. BTG interns and staff members, in addition, spend one-on-one time with students to foster connection and understanding during field work. Importantly, the other BTG intern and I worked closely with the cooking staff to prepare meals (3x week) for every member of the farm.

The BTG CHIP experience provides me with the opportunity to interact with the urban farmers in the Southwest Philadelphia community. The farmers at Sankofa practice natural agriculture and African diasporic rooted farming as a method of healing from America’s heavy history, particularly when discussing slavery. Sankofa also strives to enhance food sovereignty and establish trust by educating the residents of Southwest Philadelphia about its beautiful agricultural practice, which I am honored to be a part of. As an important takeaway, I hope to center my care around patient education when I become a nurse. Something significant that I noticed while chatting with the staff member in the farm is widespread of gun violence, with ensuing deaths being desensitized among community members as almost everyone knew of a victim of gun violence. Taken together, I aspire to treat my patients with an abundance of patience in my future role as a healthcare provider.

By Career Services
Career Services