When does she have time to sleep? Melissa Carreres has been president of her local, Network Commissioner, works, studies and does a lot of sports. If you thought that finally she can relax after finishing her term in the Network Commission, you are wrong. Melissa just became moderator of the Health4Youth Interest Group. And she has lots of ideas to make this group more active and visible!

GT: Melissa, what is the Health4Youth Interest Group about?
Melissa: Health4Youth started as a project in 2012 with the goal of promoting a healthy lifestyle among European youth and motivate them to adopt it in their lives. The project was extended for two editions. When the AEGEE structure was changed, it turned to an interest group with the same name and same goal. Health4Youth is not just as platform where to discuss about nutrition, physical activity and other important issues related with health, but also as a working group which has carried out several health initiatives and activities.

Joanna (right) was the first coordinator after the H4YIG became an interest group

GT: For example?
Melissa: I just want to mention a health cookbook, guidelines for healthier events, and several collaborations with AEGEE locals and European bodies, such as the Summer University. Some AEGEEans deserved to be named here because of their hard work and their contribution on educating AEGEEans about health matters: Mayri Tiido and Matthijs Overhaal, both founders of the project, and Joanna Pankowska as the first moderator of the interest group.

GT: What motivated you to become Health4Youth Interest Group Coordinator?
Melissa Carreres: I have been interested in being more active in this Interest Group for a long time, but I was involved in other AEGEE projects which required a lot of dedication, and next to my studies and work I could not make it. Now, after NetCom, I have less responsibilities, at least in AEGEE. It wasn’t exactly in my plans to become the moderator but I realised that nobody else wanted to take over the position, so I thought, why not me?

Representing H4Y at EPM Burgos in 2016

GT: You just finished NetCom, you have a job, you study – didn’t you want to relax a bit from AEGEE instead of taking the next responsibility?
Melissa (smiling): I also wonder the same… I really didn’t want this Interest Group to disappear. It pursuits an important goal and there are many things that we can continue doing in this field. I was not made to sit still and do nothing, and if I see that I can give my input in something, I just do it. Furthermore, health has to do with my field of studies and with my current job, so I believe that this task can also contribute to developing my professional career.

GT: Have you been following the activities of the H4YIG for a long time?
Melissa: Indeed for a long time! Since my beginning in AEGEE, which is more than three years already. My first experience in AEGEE was taking part in the pre-event of Agora Zaragoza, organised by AEGEE-Alicante in cooperation with the Health4Youth project. After this remarkable experience, I applied for being part of the core team of the second edition of the project, but unfortunately I was not elected. Then, I joined as a pool member and I have been collaborating a bit in several initiatives, and representing Health4Youth in AEGEE fairs of some European events.

H4Y at the Agora Kyiv pre-event

GT: How many members are following the H4YIG activities?
Melissa: Right now we are almost 300 AEGEEans in the Facebook group and 37 subscribers to the mailing list, but I’m afraid both platforms haven’t been very active lately. The interest group itself is not so visible. So first task is to make more people join, especially those who are willing to contribute actively to the H4YIG!

Melissa in Transnistria after Agora Chisinau

GT: Are you planning international projects or other activities? Or is it more of a discussion circle?
Melissa: I believe we can put in practise several initiatives. I would like to continue collaborating with different European bodies and locals and I have some projects in mind that I look forward to implement, but first I need to get more people involved, see what we can achieve and then start to act!

GT: How can interested members join the H4Y Interest group?
Melissa: To join the interest group the only thing you have to do is to join our Facebook group. Everyone can take part in the discussions and propose new initiatives. For working on the initiatives, we use a mailing list. Right now, I am creating a pool of active members, so dear reader, if you are up to act, fill the form! PS: Don’t forget also to follow the H4YIG on Twitter and Instagram!

Melissa at work in the Intensive Care Unit

GT: A few words about you: what’s your local, when did you join AEGEE?
Melissa: I discovered this association by chance in November 2013, and since then I have been pretty active. I have been three years in a row in the board of my local AEGEE-Alicante, and I have been carrying some important projects there as the Buddy Program and the Summer University and last but not least I was member of the Network Commission.

GT: What were your main achievements in AEGEE?
Melissa: I would say that my top three achievements in AEGEE, named in ascending order are: the Summer University “Alicante, where the Sun rises” in 2015 where I was the main organizer; my year as President in AEGEE-Alicante – and my favourite one, my year as Network Commissioner.

Melissa loves sports!

GT: And what do you do, when you don’t do AEGEE?
Melissa: Well in my non-AEGEE life, I am a nurse and I am working at Alicante’s general hospital in the research department of Infectious Diseases. At same time I am also studying to prepare a future exam to get a permanent job at the hospital. About my hobbies, If you know me personally, you would know that I love sports! I practised several kinds of sports since I was just a child: athletics, basketball, football… And since last year, besides running I am practising Crossfit, which is a super strong and complete sport activity.

GT: Anything you would like to add?
Melissa: May the health be with you and join our interest group!

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