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Press Release

Release Date: March 04, 2019

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Candace Shy

Health fair Saturday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Davis High School gym.

Candace Shy, Davis Schools’ HealthCorps coordinator, says the event’s goal is to emphasize wellness.

“HealthCorps’ mission is to strengthen communities with the most innovative approaches to health and wellness to help the next generation be more resilient, both mentally and physically,” Shy said. “HealthCorps students exercise more, eat better and practice positive thought.

“We want the community to come out and learn some things,” Shy said.

“Arbuckle Family Health Clinic, Taylor Eye Clinic, Rose Chiropractic, the Chickasaw Nation and others will be on hand. We’ll have nurses available who will check blood pressure and give body mass index evaluations. Davis school students will also have booths that focus on different aspects of wellness,” she said.

HealthCorps is a national nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and attending physician at New York Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center. The Chickasaw Nation sponsors the HealthCorps effort at Davis, Byng, Tishomingo, Kingston and Latta school districts.

Shy is in her first year of a two-year commitment to bring the HealthCorps message to Davis area students. It consists of the organization’s three pillars of wellness:  nutrition, physical activity and mental resilience.

Shy, who was reared in Albany, Georgia, earned her Health and Community Wellness degree from the University of West Georgia in Carrolton, Georgia.

Curriculum included worksite wellness, health promotions, policy and implementation, among others. “I also took classes in wellness coaching and personal training, so I got a good feel of everything. It was a good major and I learned a lot,” she said.

Shy, 23, says her preferred learning and teaching style is face to face, despite her generation’s reputation for being more in tune with electronics.

“I’m an old soul. People have been saying that since I was 2 years old,” she said with a laugh. “My momma tells me that.”

She admits her old school approach sometimes comes as a surprise to children used to working with computers.

One of her bigger challenges is gaining acceptance of the nutrition component due to the ready availability and popularity of fast food.

“Our lessons are based on eating more fruits and vegetables and students will say, ‘I don’t like vegetables.’ So I encourage them to try different vegetables.

“They didn’t know about putting fruit in water, and now that they do, it helps them drink more water. Little things like that help,” she said.

“Students really like the mental health component because they don’t know a lot about it. For instance, one day I started class with some yoga poses and deep meditation and they wanted to know if we could do that every day. We had fun.”

Shy volunteers with the cheerleading team in addition to her HealthCorps responsibilities.

“It’s been really fun getting to know these girls and seeing how far they’ve come since early August and September.”

Shy is a former high school cheerleader and knows the rigor involved in being the best.

“I thought I was in the military at one point and wondered why we were working out so hard. It paid off because we looked good,” she said. “I try to tell our cheerleaders here, if you work hard, you will look good. They notice it themselves.”

Shy traces her interest in healthy lifestyles to the fact she was born with her own health related issue.

“When I was 3, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes,” she said. “Growing up, I was around doctors, nurses and dieticians and spent a great deal of time in medical facilities. Seeing all the nice doctors and nurses I’ve had, I wanted to do the same for someone else. I’ve always wanted to help people. That was always my passion.”

Shy says her move to Oklahoma was made more difficult by the fact her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before she left. They talk daily by phone.

“Leaving was extremely hard for me. I almost declined the job. But she is my biggest supporter, my biggest fan. She said, ‘Live your life; go do your thing. You’ll be fine, I’ll be fine. God has me, so don’t worry.’

“I’m really glad I did. It’s been a learning experience and I’m very grateful for it. I’ve learned a lot about the world. I’d never really been outside of Georgia for too long. We traveled a lot but that’s different from moving into a new environment.

“Everything I’ve encountered here has been nice. Oklahoma people are just nice,” she said.

Shy originally applied for a position in California, which didn’t go over well with her father. “Daddy wasn’t happy and he prayed, ‘Lord, don’t send my baby to California!’

“So I joked with him and told him, ‘Well, God compromised with you. I’m going to Oklahoma.’”