Tabling at Wildlife High School


Last weekend I tabled for Mary Mitchell at Wild Life high school for their health fair with some of my colleagues. The new intern for the After School Program, Arianna, came along and was a great help. Sylvia, Ana and Ms. Aleyna were also there. We all work together but for different aspects of the center so our table was full of resources.

Just to talk about Arianna a bit. She started working at the center two weeks ago. During our quick and fun interview process, she shared with me a secret…. ‘I don’t know much English, Ms.’ She seemed very bashful and somewhat ashamed. She was so shy that on her first day of work, she brought in her older sister (who spoke English and worked with me before) to speak on her behalf….(Her sister encouraged her and to her surprise… left her there to fend for herself). Nonetheless, after working around the center for three weeks, Arianna started opening up. She is speaking more and even translating for others!

During the health fair, I turned to Arianna and told her that she was going to table alone for one hour. I gave her quick instructions on what to say to the people and left. When I returned she had a huge smile on her face. She not only spoke to people about the center but got others to sign up for the La Canansta Program and even participated in a raffle and won a tee-shirt!

I have been working with the Pathways to Graduation Internship Placement Program for three years and I enjoy it. I’ve met great people starting with the development coordinator, Ms. Ocean. She does a fantastic job of linking the Mary Mitchell After School Program with great students who work along with the center. Arianna is one of the many students who I get joy in seeing grow and flourish in positive ways.

The Family Health Challenge

If we don’t change the way we eat, half of the children born in the Bronx will have diabetes in their lifetime.

Don’t pay fast food places to make you sick, buy fresh food and cook it at home.

You deserve to be healthy!

These slogans were all taken from a Mary Mitchell Flyer.

Last year, the Mary Mitchell Center started a Family Health Challenge, a campaign to encourage people to eat and be healthy (view the following blog to see some of the rules the challenge included each week).  Each week children, parents and staff added or subtracted something from their to diet. The Challenge went viral. People outside of the center participated. Even our own senator, Gustavo Rivera, joined.

This year, the Mary Mitchell Center decided to take the Challenge a step further. Its goal? To bring healthy and fresh food into the neighborhood.

Over the summer of 2011, four students from Columbia University helped the center put together a food buying agenda. Most of the bodegas and supermarkets in the Bronx do not sell fresh food. Along with the director of the center, Heidi Hynes, the students thought of ways to get fresh food into the neighborhood.

Our purpose was to not only tell people to be healthy but to make it easier  for families to get healthy food, Hynes continued, we adopted most of the ideas from a  food buying club program located in Toronto, Canada.

The program that Mary Mitchell now runs is called La Canasta and it’s slogan is :  Market Fresh Food at Wholesale Prices Delivered to you.

As a member of La Canasta, one can get fresh farm food for only $25 per week. The bag  actually contains $35 worth of food. It is a good deal, but you must be willing to cook!  It includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dry beans.

If you are interested in this program contact Heidi Hynes at 917-402-4129 or via email at