Back to School is all the HYPE

Although I have been out of school for many years, I still get a little pang of sadness when summer ends and school begins. This year was different though – I was still sad the summer was over, I was looking forward to September and the start of school because it meant the start of all the HYPE and the Get HYPE Philly! activities. I had been learning about these programs for the past few months and excited to hit the ground running.

The HYPE campaign (which stands for “Healthy You. Positive Energy.”) supports youth councils in approximately 100 middle and high schools to lead changes relating to health and wellness. Our students improve access to healthy foods and increase opportunities for physical activity.

Get HYPE Philly! brings together 10 nonprofit collective partners to empower the city’s youth to become leaders for healthy change in their schools and communities through physical fitness, nutrition education, entrepreneurship, civic engagement and more.

My first back-to-school assignment was coordinating participation in R&D STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Day at GSK. I was responsible for ensuring all 48 participating students had completed the appropriate paperwork, reserving buses for the trip, and being one of the chaperones for the day. I have to say all of this was way more complicated than I ever could have imagined, but it in the end it all came together and it was a great day. We went through the drug development process by participating in hands-on science demonstrations. While I loved every minute of the day, the best part was watching the young people get excited about their potential STEM career paths.

Next, I supported planning for the annual middle and high school youth leadership summits that HYPE hosts every fall. The high school summit challenges students to think critically in small workshops to help them shape their HYPE projects for the school year. The day’s activities included workshops in leadership, advocacy, and policy, physical activity in schools, stress management and cooking.

While the students attended their workshops, the advisers met to discuss programming to help prepare and support their school’s HYPE activities.  This year I was excited to introduce a piece of GSK’s resilience program for the advisers. We used the “Facing the Truth” assessment so advisers could see how they were managing their own energy, and A facilitated a discussion on how they could make change in their own life.  We also talked about practices they could bring into their schools.

Greg Grazen from GSK’s Health and Sustainability Department helped me shape the resilience session for the school advisers, and coached the facilitator from The Food Trust. It was a great partnership with Greg who donated his personal time to help me have a more a meaningful impact on the schools where we have HYPE programs.

To learn more about HYPE go to:

Night Market – Italian Market

In between those 2 back to school programs I worked the final Night Market at the Italian Market( on Washington Ave) and supported the videographer in capturing footage needed for the  Get HYPE Phily! 3 year video.  The video allowed me to me to experience firsthand the Get HYPE Philly! students in action at the  Global Leadership Academy’s  quarterly celebration, at which there was a lunch filled with  physical  activities  and a smoothy tasting. The other opportunity I had was observing the farm stand at the Village Arts and Humanities ( one of the Get HYPE Philly! partners) where students manage an active  farm as well as farm stand  in North Philadelphia.

To learn more about the programs offered at the Village go to :


  1. Wow! Sounds like a lot of work – but fun work! Also, love how you’re connecting GSK resources with the work you’re doing and engaging your colleagues as well. Way to go on bringing together with you on your PULSE adventure!

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