A Nevada High School student and a Colo-NESCO High School student are using their enrollment in this semester’s SCALE (Story County Active Learning Experience) program to increase awareness about the signs of having a stroke.

Emma Griffin of Nevada and Molly Barten of McCallsburg are spending their SCALE time at Mary Greeley Medical Center, learning more about their chosen area of interest, physical and occupational therapy, which fits into the Health and Human Services “strand” of the SCALE program.

The program is project-based, so according to Griffin, she and Barten were paired because of their similar interests in health care. “Our professors learned about our interests and paired students up with professionals in the Ames area,” Griffin said. She and Barten were paired with Sharon Ellrich, the stroke coordinator at Mary Greeley Medical Center.

“Our first task was to educate the public,” Griffin said.

So the two girls talked to people in their communities and realized that a lot of people did not know how to recognize if someone was having a stroke. They agreed this is a big problem, because strokes are the leading cause of disability in the United States, and therefore, early recognition is vital in lowering the chance of brain damage.

Griffin and Barten created posters about the early signs of a stroke and have been reaching out to newspapers, schools and businesses to share this information.

“We hope that by spreading the word, we can make a difference in many lives,” both agreed.

This is the first year and the second semester for offering the SCALE program in Story County. SCALE was born following a roundtable meeting between DMACC, local high school leaders and business leaders, where both schools and businesses were asking each other about the best ways to get involved with and support one another. Over 30 businesses are involved in making the SCALE program a reality this year.