This month at 15-40 Connection we’re trying to help you get to know us better. We are a growing team of eight employees – in addition to our many volunteers, supporters and other helpers – and we want you to know why we’re passionate about teaching people how to detect cancer early!

Helene Winn is our Education & Outreach Director and the newest member of our group, coming aboard in July. Helene came to us from the TJX Companies, where she was a Senior Operations Specialist in Community Relations, but she previously worked as a teacher in the Worcester, Mass. area. These experiences gave her a good eye into understanding how our 3 Steps Detect education can best fit into high school and college curriculums as well as corporate wellness programs.

If you would like to get involved with 15-40 Connection or bring our education to your community, Helene is likely one of the people you’ll be working with. Take a minute to get to know her better:

How would you describe your role in the Education & Outreach team?

“I see my role on the team as supporting the distribution of content with existing partners while driving the continuous expansion of our partner network.

At 15-40 Connection we have fantastic early detection education programs – they are flexible, innovative and interesting. Most importantly, they are lifesaving! Our lesson plan materials have been proven to be effective with both student and adult audiences. Alicia, our Education & Outreach Manager, and our other trainers, who are primarily high school health teachers, do a fantastic job delivering the materials.

Since we know the education is only as good as the number of people who learn it, I want to make sure that at the end of every day I have done something to continue to increase the number of people who are in that group.”

What is your elevator pitch on why it is important for everyone to have the 3 Steps Detect education?

“Early detection is lifesaving. We know that. I think what we also know is that people often don’t like to go to the doctor and people don’t like to think about or talk about things that make them nervous. That’s why our 3 Steps Detect program is designed to empower an individual to feel like they are in control and have a plan as a patient.

We all should be comfortable setting benchmarks for our health and knowing what to do when we notice a health change. 3 Steps Detect gives you the specific tools you need to pay more attention to things that you might otherwise want to ignore. Plus, since you never know who might need the education, we think everyone should have it!”

What is new in Education & Outreach that is helping 15-40 Connection reach different audiences?

“We have presented at several conferences this fall to large groups of both educators and wellness professionals; it’s been a great way to teach people about what we do! We are always grateful to have the chance to share information with potential program partners who are interested in learning about new programs and new resources to bring to their communities.

We are also focusing on continuing to expand our train-the-trainer program model, which allows us to partner with schools to build sustainable early detection programs. We train groups of teachers in our content and then provide the lesson materials electronically, so that teachers can leverage them to fit their classroom needs. We provide ongoing support and share new content as it’s developed, but this model lets schools incorporate the programming into their school calendars in a sustainable way, which allows the education to reach more students on a year over year basis.”

Has working for 15-40 Connection changed the way you think about cancer and health in general?

“Working at 15-40 Connection has underscored for me how important it is to be proactive about your health as well as how important it is to talk about health related issues with the people you care about.”

And now a lighter question to finish things out: What is your favorite annual tradition (activity, family vacation, etc.)?

“My husband and I started the tradition of going to see James Taylor at Tanglewood on the Fourth of July six years ago when I found a pair of free tickets on Craigslist. Since then, every year we have packed a picnic and headed to Lenox (Mass.) to sit on the Tanglewood lawn and listen to James Taylor play Sweet Baby James. It’s always one of my favorite things we do all summer!”

What’s in it for you?

Much more!