Taking Action!

Educating as a Form of Service

Students will read the story Happy Hearts in Manabí by Peace Corps Volunteer Kristen Mallory. After learning about Kristen's work promoting heart health in Ecuador, students will consider how educating others can be a form of service, prioritize health education issues in their own communities, and create educational materials for a local audience. As an extension of this lesson, students may organize a health education event within their school or local community.

The Heart And Cardiovascular Health:

American Heart Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Heart Disease
World Health Organization (WHO) - Cardiovascular Disease

More about Ecuador

CIA World Factbook


  • Students will describe educating the public as a form of service
  • Students will educate others about a health issue
  • Students will discuss how health information is shared and why health education is important 


  1. Discuss students' personal experiences with heart health. Do students know someone who has had heart problems? What are some things that can put heart health at risk?
  2. Explain to students that they will be learning about the work of a Peace Corps Volunteer who was working to promote heart health in communities that had little access to information about health care.
    If you or your students are unfamiliar with the Peace Corps, you can learn more at www.peacecorps.gov . Identify Kristen Mallory as a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in rural Ecuador and ask students to locate Ecuador on a globe or world map. You may also want to share with your students some additional information about Ecuador (see Background Information, above).
  3. Read the story Happy Hearts in Manabí. After reading, discuss:
    • What were some of the health issues people were facing in Manabí?
    • How were their challenges similar and different from those facing our community? [i.e., Many of the health concerns were the same (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol), but people's access to health care and information about staying healthy was more limited than ours].
    • What kinds of strategies did Kristen and the health promoters use to improve people's heart health in Ecuadorian communities? What would you have done the same or differently?
  1. Explain that educating the public about a cause or issue can be a form of community service,

    Ask students: If you could teach people in our community about one way to improve their health, would you teach them? What are the biggest health problems affecting people in our community?

    Place students in groups based on their interests. Have students research their interest areas making sure to include information about the relevant science (what is going on in the body?), effects on personal health, and preventative actions.
  2. Once students have conducted their research, ask each group to prepare a way to educate the public about what they have learned (e.g., design an informational pamphlet, a billboard, a video public service announcement, an e-newsletter, or some other medium of their choice).

    Make sure students consider the audience they want to reach (e.g., children, teens, parents, English-language learners) and tailor their materials to meet the needs of this group.
  3. Have small groups present their materials to the rest of the class. Discuss:
    • Why did you choose that particular medium and target audience?
    • What was the most important message you wanted to convey?
    • What was the most interesting thing you learned?
  1. Kristen Mallory believed that one of the most important aspects of the Corazón Feliz program was its adaptability. Discuss:
    • How could you adapt what she did to meet the needs of your community?
    • How could you use the educational materials you created to improve health awareness within your own community? 

Frameworks & Standards

Enduring Understandings

  • Preventative medicine and health information are not equally accessible to all people in the world.
  • Lifestyle choices have important implications for personal health.

Essential Questions

  • How do people gain access to information about personal health?
  • How can providing health education be an act of service?


Content Standard C: Life Science
Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

Social Studies: 
Thematic Strand I: Culture
Thematic Strand III: People, Places, and Environments
Thematic Strand V: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections

Essential Element 2: Places and Regions

Language Arts:
Standard 1: Reading for Perspective
Standard 4: Communication Skills
Standard 5: Communication Strategies
Standard 6: Applying Knowledge
Standard 8: Developing Research Skills
Standard 11: Participating in Society


Kristen Mallory wrote: "We used games to teach the food pyramid, ran healthy cooking challenges, kept food journals, created walking groups, taught aerobics classes, practiced yoga, and learned stress relief techniques." Help students to organize a health event for their classmates, other students in the school, or the local community using one or more of these strategies. Have them share the educational materials they created at the event.

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