Health Science Academy’s Hard-Working Helpers

Health Science Academy’s Hard-Working Helpers

December 21, 2022 in Volunteer Spotlight

The Health Science Academy has a unique way of educating its students. Every year, Springfield Public Schools partners with Mercy Hospital to educate 8th grade students in health and medical sciences and introduces them to career opportunities. “These kids are very ‘help-oriented’,” says Ryan O’Dell, the Health Science Academy teacher, “They’ve been bugging me all week to come to The Food Bank today.”

Throughout the school year, students from all nine middle schools who have been accepted into the Health Science Academy learn medical concepts and health sciences through community programs and outreach initiatives. “They all have some interest in the health field,” said O’Dell. “The program is partially about how you serve the local community, and we want to get our kids working in the community.” They want the students to understand the issue of hunger and volunteering with Ozarks Food Harvest has helped the students learn about the impact nutrition makes and how it affects the health of individuals and families in the Springfield and surrounding area.

“Being able to do non-traditional things and further their interest in a specific field is fun to do,” O’Dell explains. The program says they strive to be an example of innovation for authentic learning experiences. The students have a lot of hands-on participation and volunteering allows the students to meet a need in the community on a personal level.

O’Dell says the kids are curious, hardworking and always willing to try new things. “When we left the farm on Wednesday, they were so energetic. I was amazed at their willingness to get into compost and dig for sweet potatoes,” he said. During their warehouse session they sorted and packed nearly 10,000 pounds of food, which helped provide over 8,100 meals to our neighbors in need across southwest Missouri.

Ozarks Food Harvest is grateful to The Health Science Academy students for their part in helping us Transform Hunger into Hope. Please consider sharing the joyful experience of providing hunger relief by volunteering or donating today.