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The Promise of the Future

Judy Krasna, F.E.A.S.T. Executive Director

There are always people reaching out to F.E.A.S.T. who make different types of requests. Some of them I turn down, either because their requests aren’t suitable or because I just don’t have the time or capacity to say yes. But there is one type of request that I always grant, and that is when students reach out and want to interview me about F.E.A.S.T.

Some of them are high school students who are doing projects about eating disorders. Others are university and graduate level students. I received this mail the other day:

I am a graduate student at the University of XXXX studying Social Work. I am part of a policy class, and I’m currently working on a capstone project, part of which requires us to reach out to an agency or grassroots campaign that supports our passion project. I discovered F.E.A.S.T. and knew it’d be the perfect fit for my project. My passion project is on eating disorders, specifically, increasing eating disorder screening/intervention tools in schools. F.E.A.S.T. was a natural fit because this organization understands the importance of identifying and helping adolescents struggling with eating disorders and their families. 

Anorexia has the highest mortality rates of ANY mental illness, so I believe we must do more in terms of identifying individuals with disordered eating in schools and connecting them with affordable and accessible resources.

I am contacting this organization because I’d love to briefly interview someone about this organization, what it stands for, and where it’s going. I can be flexible with the individual’s schedule, and would really appreciate the opportunity to connect with someone from F.E.A.S.T. Please let me know if you can accommodate this request. 

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like F.E.A.S.T. has anything to gain from interactions like these. Maybe it can even be considered a waste of my time as Executive Director; time that I really don’t have. Recently, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all of my work done. But I can’t say no, for a few reasons.

I cannot help but honor people who display such authentic passion toward making the world better for those affected by eating disorders and their families. It is a mission that is close to all of our hearts, and I want to support this endeavor, even if it’s just for the project of a graduate student that will never see the light of day outside the walls of her university or to help a high school student writing a paper about eating disorders.

Another motivation for doing these interviews is my belief that students who display such strong emotion toward helping those with eating disorders can very well be the next super stars of the professional eating disorders world. If I can help shape their attitudes and beliefs about eating disorders now, perhaps they will be the ones to advance treatment later in a way that recognizes the positive role of parents and the role that the brain and genetics play in the illness. Maybe they will be the ones to throw antiquated treatment out of the window, to reject what doesn’t work, and to develop what does.

When I go to professional eating disorder conferences, I find myself smiling at all of the young people there, both students and young professionals; to me, they hold the promise of the future. They represent a different culture. They represent the potential for change, the potential for better outcomes, the potential for kinder treatment, the potential for more recovery relevant research, the potential for a brighter future for people affected by eating disorders and their families. They represent hope.

If 30 minutes of my time now can somehow get the young people who reach out to F.E.A.S.T. one step closer in the future to being a more skilled clinician, a higher caliber researcher, and a better informed person who can help anyone in their sphere who develops an eating disorder, then I consider that time well spent.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Emer coffey

    Totally agree Judy. We need to invest time in the leaders of the future. Big call on your time though! Maybe the task could be divvied out – dependent on where the query has originated, as some of the opportunities and challenges are context specific.

    • Judy Krasna

      Thanks, Emer. Sometimes I do delegate these conversations to others, but I really enjoy connecting with the younger generation personally; I feel like I get a lot out of these conversations. So when my schedule allows, I like taking these things on personally!

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