An initiative of The N.C. Center for Health & Wellness at UNC Asheville | Statement of Compassion & Inclusion

Employee Testimonial: Sydney Swaim

Healthy Aging NC Initiative  —  Communications Specialist

Sydney began UNC Asheville in the Fall of 2018 as a sophomore. Her major is political science with a focus on American Government. She holds the Communications Specialist student employment position for the NC Center for Health and Wellness’s Healthy Aging NC Initiative.

Q: What are your job tasks with the Healthy Aging NC Initiative of the NC Center for Health and Wellness?

I have been co-leading a program called Walk With Ease—last semester I started to help coordinate the program and learned about it, now I am trained in it and am a facilitator. I do a lot of Facebook posts on the Healthy Aging NC page about aging and arthritis. I also have various tasks, it depends on the week—I have done some powerpoint development, some research, some data entry, and testimonials of past program participants and program providers.

Q: Why do you think this job and the Healthy Aging NC Initiative is important?

The Healthy Aging NC Initiative offers things that work and are effective. There are programs that are evidence-based and help people feel better. I am learning about myself and my own chronic illnesses while learning about these programs. Even doing Walk With Ease has been hard for me, walking can be a struggle for me. I thought I would have trouble relating to older adults as a college student. But going through my own experiences, it has given me an appreciation of what we are doing.

Q: Did you hold any stereotypes about working with older adults? Has that changed at all?

I did hold some stigmas that I think a lot of people my age have. You worry that older adults will look down on you because you are young. I even thought that they may be rude and crotchety, but I have not had that experience. Everyone has been respectful and receptive to what I have to say during Walk With Ease and my other communications.

Q: How does this job pertain to your future?

Part of what I care about going into the Political Science field is health care. Being someone who struggles with chronic illnesses myself, I would like to help in initiating some form of truly affordable healthcare for all Americans. Everyone deserves the right to get the help they need and when you’re sick the last thing you need to worry about is how you’re going to pay your medical bill.