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Peer Educator Promotes Healthy Lifestyles to Students

UC student Caryl Adams’ campus job is giving her hands-on experience for her future career.

Date: 2/11/2008
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
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Caryl Adams
Caryl Adams

Caryl Adams gives students something to talk about. Whether it’s about stress management, nutrition and fitness, body image, alcohol awareness or sexual or mental health issues, Adams works to get students talking about issues that they may be thinking about, but might be uncomfortable bringing up in discussions. Adams, a 21-year-old health promotion and education major in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Humans Services (CECH), is gaining insight and experience about student health issues and concerns by working as a peer educator for the UC Wellness Center.

The UC Wellness Center provides a variety of health and wellness services for UC students, faculty and staff. It’s likely that the center’s free cold care kits are popular during winter quarter. The center also provides free blood pressure tests, individual or group sessions for smokers who are trying to kick the habit, and Friday Night Live entertainment that provides an alcohol-free alternative to the party scene.

The Wellness Center-sponsored events during Wellness Week Feb. 4-8 explored healthy snacks, the dangers of drowsy driving and stress relief through aromatherapy, among other activities.

The center also has a staff of six specially trained peer educators, including Caryl Adams, who provide health and wellness workshops for student groups. “Many of these peer educator-driven programs are requested by resident advisors (RAs) and presented in the residence halls,” explains Regan Johnson, program manager for the UC Wellness Center. “Our peer educators are also called to present programs and workshops in classes for First Year Experience (FYE) and Learning Communities,” Johnson says.

Adams

“I was looking for a job through the UC Web site, and I thought this one would be perfect because it infused two of the things I love the most: health education and working with people,” Adams says. “We give students someone to talk with when they might not feel comfortable talking with a professional. It allows me and other peer educators to reach out to students through workshops and through educating students about primary prevention and different health topics.”

A native of Ravenna, Ohio and a graduate of Ravenna High School, Adams says she attended other colleges and pursued other majors before she settled at the University of Cincinnati and says she discovered her niche in health promotions and education after taking an elective course in community health. She has attended UC for the past two years and has worked for the UC Wellness Center for one year.

“Transferring to UC has been one of the best decisions I have ever made,” she says. “It was really hard at the time I was making that decision, but I definitely made the right choice,” she says.

She says her UC job was the right choice, too, and that she’s interested in working in a campus environment and eventually pursuing a doctoral degree in health education. “I like breaking down barriers and making it comfortable to talk about things that people are uncomfortable talking about,” she says. “I like being able to connect people to resources that they might not know about. I’ve learned a lot. I really like this job.”

To schedule a Wellness Center program or workshop, call 556-6124.


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