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Boston-area high school student Yatta Voyard stood at the base of the 30-foot-high climbing wall, uncertain about whether to take the first step up.
She took a deep breath, gathered her thoughts and decided to go for it as her peers cheered her on.
At the end of her 10-minute ascent to the top, Voyard raised her arms in victory.
"It was amazing," she said. "I didn't think I could do it, but I'm so proud of myself for not giving up."
Voyard was among 45 students from Boston-area schools who are part of this year's Project Teen Education About Careers in Health (Project TEACH) and Summer Science Academy. Both programs are run by the Center for Community Health and Health Equity (CCHHE).
Project TEACH offers rising sophomores the opportunity to learn about careers in health, science and medicine through paid summer internships in BWH departments, academic research projects and weekly life skills seminars. The Summer Science Academy program offers rising freshmen exposure to careers in health and science education through field trips and intensive science instruction.
As part of the programs' orientation, students attended an adventure-based physical education program hosted by Project Adventure in Beverly. They spent the day participating in an array of exercises to promote teamwork, foster physical and emotional health and encourage responsibility.
"Many of these tasks are similar to the challenges we'll encounter in the real world," said Joshua Byrd, a participant of this summer's Project TEACH and a rising sophomore at Boston College High School, who completed low element tight-rope walking and wall climbing. "We learned that we need to trust one another in order to work together and get a task completed."
Edlyn Thompson-Mettle, coordinator for Project TEACH, said each exercise requires the students to trust their abilities to accomplish a task-a valuable professional skill. For the majority of the students, the programs are their first summer job experience. Many will later have the opportunity to apply for the CCHHE Student Success Jobs Program, which works to build the future health care and science workforce by encouraging the skills and commitment of local young people.
"They'll be able to apply the teamwork and communication skills to their time here at the Brigham and going forward," said Thompson-Mettle. "I really believe these exercises help them step outside their comfort zone and realize that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to."