Ending Off Our Project – Farewell!

Moment of Significance

A significant moment in the project was our first meeting with the children in the out of school care (OSC) program at Gordon Neighbourhood House. We mentioned this first interaction in our previous blog post, but upon further reflection as we wrap up our project, we have discovered major learning themes. While we had worked on our project during tutorial, this first interaction with the kids gave us insight into how our workshop would go and how we could better prepare. Each member of the group went to GNH with different expectations; some were confident with their ability to teach the children, others were hesitant about this unfamiliar experience, and others were ready to face challenges.

Were these expectations met? Not for everyone.

While some of us were confident about our skills and previous experiences interacting with children, our first meeting proved to challenge these expectations. We conducted a brief activity which tested the kids knowledge of Canada’s Food Guide and the four food groups. On our first visit to GNH, we started by asking the children to leave their activities, to take a seat and listen while we introduced the activity. Although they were all very excited to get involved in our activity, their attention span and ability to stay seated proved to be a challenge. As a team, this required leadership skills, the ability to take charge of a situation, as well as patience.

Upon successfully completing the activity with the children and determining the food groups for the various items we felt a great sense of achievement. The positive feedback from the supervisor also contributed to our confidence in teaching the kids. Finally, and most importantly, the human contact with children, the jokes, and the little chats had a significant impact upon each one of us.

At the end of the day, we left GNH confident of what we had accomplished and ready for our next step.

 

So What?

This experience was ideal to prepare for the next step: our workshop.

This experience ties to a main concept in our course LFS 350, uncertainty. This experience put all of us in a varying state of uncertainty. Some of this uncertainty came from our pre-existing expectations leading into the first interaction with the kids. How involved would they be? How much knowledge would they have of the four food groups? Would they find our activity interesting? During the activity we found the kids were eager and very willing to get involved. However, trying to keep them focused and seated was a definite challenge. With the help of the two leaders and some gentle reminders to raise their hand before speaking, we were able to complete the entire activity. We based our actions on past experiences working with kids. Recognizing their excitement and trying to channel that energy into learning, was something we did well. For our activity we used cut out pictures of food items and, whenever a child answered the question, he or she was given the opportunity to tape it onto the board in the corresponding food group. This was one way to get the kids involved and feel special when they had their turn. We had some uncertainty after we had completed the activity including; how do we use what we have learned to improve our workshop? How do we keep the kids focused? This has taught us as a group that no matter how much planning you put into a workshop or activity, there will always be a level of uncertainty. Engaging with the kids through this first activity was a great way for us to rework our workshop to be as effective as possible.

This was a great experience showing the transition from the ‘idealistic’ class scenarios and formatted questions to the realistic challenges and experiences in the real-world context. While our role in society as nutritionists seemed like a systematic, clear responsibility, it proved to be a dynamic, challenging one that we will have to deal with on daily and case-by-case basis.

 

Now What?

As future nutritionists and dietitians, this experience provided an insight to the real world of our food system. In our careers, we will be expected to explore, work with, and immerse ourselves in diverse communities of different age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic situations. Working with the kids at Gordon Neighbourhood House was a great experience. We will take away so much from this opportunity and be able to apply many things we have learned from this project in the future. Specifically, the state of uncertainty we experienced before, during and after executing our activity is something we have learned to better predict and cope with when planning a workshop. Uncertainty is undoubtedly a daily state in the humanitarian field, something our group is very interested in. Uncertainty will be a part of every program, workshop, job etc. but knowing how to deal with it, and using experience to manage it, is a valuable skill we have learned as a result of this project.

More importantly, we hope while dealing with this uncertainty and transitioning into the real-world practice of nutrition, we are benefiting our community and surrounding food system. We hope we are able to provide them with the knowledge and skills to sustain their health and their food system especially among those who hold the future in their hands – the children.

Strategies For A Graceful Dismount

Achievements

During this week, we successfully completed the research for the significant nutrient needs of our targeted age group (5-10 years old). We also explored various resources for appropriate healthy dessert recipes and, after thorough discussion, agreed on making healthy chocolate chip avocado brownies! These brownies are iron-rich, packed with calcium and healthy fats and all essential nutrients to enable proper growth and development in children.

We visited the Out of School Care (OSC) program at GNH to get a better understanding of the logistics of our project and to meet the coordinator Isabel as well as the kids. We had the chance to do a quick introduction activity with the children which tested their basic knowledge of the four food groups. This gave us the opportunity to interact with them and to familiarize ourselves with the setting and the experience of executing a food literacy workshop.

 

Weekly Objectives

Next on our agenda, we will be planning the details of our workshop that will be executed on November 8th, 2017. This includes an hour long workshop so we will need a clear, organized program including roles and a flexible yet planned timetable. Since we have decided on a suitable recipe, we will be ensuring all ingredients and cooking materials/utensils are purchased and gathered. Additionally, due to the large age range of the children in the OSC program, we have noted some variation in skill level and attention span. Therefore, we will need to strategically format our workshop to execute it in the most efficient way. We also hope to collect feedback during the workshop from multiple resources including the coordinator Isabel, the children participating as well as our own observations and reflections.

 

Moment of Significant Change

The most prominent aspect that stood out in our individual graphs were the similarities we shared in our perspective and our evaluation of changes in both emotions as well as knowledge and skills. Instead of creating separate trend lines for each group member, we agreed on a single trend line for each of the “emotions” and “knowledge and skills”. Having the whole group on almost the same page is a positive element as it creates unity and facilitates efficient teamwork.

One of the moments of significant change was our visit to GNH last week and completing the intro activity with the children. Some of us had previous experience in executing food literacy workshops with a group of younger kids, so going into the workshop, we all felt fairly confident in our ability to lead the children.  During the activity at GNH, we started to have some difficulties. The wide variation of attention spans, knowledge and interest in the activity we were conducting, challenged us as a group. To ensure smooth transition and continuation, we supported one another in order to capture the children’s attention and be able to do the activity in an interactive and interesting way.

This obstacle we encountered touches on the concept of asset-based community development (ABCD). It was a moment of significant change because we quickly realized after interacting with the children that our project needs to shift more towards the children’s desires and expectations of us as leaders. It is important that we remember to focus on distributing the leadership amongst the children during our workshop, to actively engage with them, and to keep in mind that we are visiting to serve the GNH community, all of which is what ABCD entails. Was what we had planned previously not client-centered? No, not exactly. Our experience this week at GNH puts into perspective the significance of ABCD. As we knew that our project would be designed for young children, we immediately assumed that more scheduling and leadership (specifically from us) would be required to execute the workshop successfully. This led us to underestimate the impact of the children’s desires and interests about food and cooking. Children are often unpredictable, and obviously from our visit to GNH, it’s hard to get their attention sometimes! Yet, it doesn’t mean that they are uninterested in it; we just need to cater to them.

These uncertainties with the kids can also be related to our discussions in our LFS 350 lecture. As we realized that certain aspects of our project did not quite coincide with the children at GNH, it is crucial that we readjust in a meaningful way. Although we can control many components of our workshop, there are also many components that are out of our control. This includes the points we mentioned before (the children’s attention spans, interest and knowledge level)  It is up to us to be flexible leaders and be able to adapt to their responses. After facing this uncertainty in the pre-workshop activity, we will use this knowledge to improve our upcoming cooking workshop. We are confident that we will be able to draw from our diverse skill sets regarding interactions with children to successfully engage the children!

 

The Graceful Dismount

In order to lead a successful project, we have maintained frequent contact with our community partner, are flexible with adjusting ideas and plans when needed and are working to the group’s strengths, assigning roles which are logical and effective. To address the challenges with the children’s attention spans, we will be separating the children into groupings based on their age (ages 5-6, ages 7-8, and ages 9-10). We believe that this will be an effective strategy to minimize the chaos that can be created if the children are in mixed-aged groups. Additionally, we will be ensuring that we approach the workshop with an open mind and the ability to adapt to any unforeseen circumstances. Our pilot visit to GNH gave us additional insight into the mindset of children at that age. Although part of our project is focused on nutrition and healthy alternatives, incorporating something as simple as chocolate chips (as per requests by the kids!) can raise their interest in the recipe we will be cooking. Therefore, it will be easier to capture their attention. We also used this opportunity to learn about the equipment and possible ingredients available, which helped us decide on our recipe. This pre-workshop meetup informed us that we needed to choose a recipe that is engaging, fun, and interactive, so the kids will be interested and pay attention, but also simple enough that even the youngest kids will be able to participate.  As a group we are working hard to plan a successful, fun, educational and delicious workshop for the kids of GNH.

One Step Closer to Healthy Desserts

This week’s achievements and objectives

So far, we have finalized the project proposal including our goals, methods, and intended outcomes.

In the meantime our objectives for the upcoming weeks include, working on the logistics of the workshop in terms of materials and budgeting. We also need to establish a clear understanding of the age group targeted, any food allergies or restrictions, and expected dates of workshops. This will be achieved by contacting Isabel, the coordinator of the project. Our biggest objective will be to find the perfect healthy dessert which is fun, easy, contains key nutrients for children of this age and of course delicious.

Challenges

We have accomplished so much in the project already with many plans to continue doing so in the next couple weeks. However, we have had some struggles leading to this point. At the beginning establishing contact with our advisor was difficult for various reasons. Establishing contact with our partner was a turning point in our project. Our questions have now been answered and we are moving forward with the project with a clearer understanding.

Moment of Significance

The arbitrary drawing activity in our tutorial!

In our last tutorial, our TA Susanna asked one member of our group to draw an arbitrary drawing privately and then describe it only by words to the rest of our group to draw. Looking at our drawings, each one of us had a different end result. Even though the activity seemed simple and funny, a couple of key concepts arose from reflecting on it.

When we realized how different our drawings were from each other and from the original one, we had to think about the reasons and implications of this activity.

While we are all working together on this project, each one of us had their own vision, expectations, and understanding of the project. While diverse, these visions and expectations should contribute to the overall goals and outcomes of our project. Our project proposal will be a key reference to unify our goals and ensure an effective, organized team.

The activity also highlights a key concept we touched on in our LFS 350 lectures related to the importance of diversity and difference among group members. Our differences, whether in our vision or skills, will be vital for our creativity and success as a group especially in a project like ours that requires a sense of creativity. We will utilize our different skills, interests and competencies to develop the recipes, plan and execute effective workshops.  

Our project will incorporate the Gordon Neighbourhood House team, our supervisor, the children, their families, and our LFS 350 coordinators. Hence, our work as a group should take into consideration all these groups of people and their expectations while developing the recipes as well as planning and executing the workshops. Our diverse group have lead to many different visions and ideas of how to execute this project. We have struggled with communication between the team in efforts to incorporate everyone’s ideas. The poor miscommunication within the team has lead to problems regarding workload. We are improving this by assigning each person different sections and then editing all together. The process of us all editing allows each member to add their ideas to collectively make a diverse paper (or blog post). Of course our focus will be on the children and what is most beneficial for them however it is important to think of all the influential groups who impact our team or the kids. We believe that effective communication within our team and those encouraging our team will be essential to achieving that.  

What is next?

Firstly, we need to start the literature research about the nutritional needs for the targeted age group – youth, specifically 5-10 year old. Based on our research, we will identify at least three key nutrients and choose available, appropriate food sources taking into considerations locality, seasonality and any food allergies or restrictions.

Then, we will have to explore multiple resources for healthy desserts’ ideas such as cooking magazines, blogs, recipe books, etc. When choosing our recipe we will look for three qualities. First, recipes that are preferably easy to prepare so the kids stay interested and that the assigned tasks are the right difficulty level. Second, fewer ingredients is key so we cans stay on budget and third to incorporate the foods chosen through literature research for beneficial nutritional reasons. We will share insightful information, resources, and appropriate ideas collectively in a common document.

After this process of data collection, we will be ready to develop two healthy desserts recipes including the ingredients and method of preparation as a document.  This will include desserts testing for possible improvements and potential technical problems we may encounter.  The document will be shared with Isabel for evaluation. A proposed strategy would be a group of two members can work on each recipe with a collaborative reflection on both recipes by all the group before sharing them with Isabel.  

Here attached is our project proposal:

Group 10 Project Proposal

Our Healthy Desserts Project

Desserts + Healthy + Easy = IMPOSSIBLE?

Not really. Desserts can be healthy, easily prepared, and loved by children. This is what our project is all about.  

Our project is in collaboration with our community partner Gordon Neighbourhood House located on the west side of Vancouver. At Gordon Neighbourhood House, they strive to improve the lives of a community of 400 people living around them through activities and services offered throughout the year. GNH uses food as an outreach to connect with the community as well as fill the growing need caused by food insecurity. They use food to facilitate community building and improve access to nutritious food. They recognize that all people have the right to food. Our project aims to plan and execute food literacy workshops to introduce healthy, flavourful desserts for the children in the out of school care (OSC) program.  

 

Why this project?

The idea of healthy desserts holds opportunities for creativity, interactive learning, and for application of classroom knowledge and skills into real life. Our youth are an important group of individuals in the community that have the potential to carry forward nutritional knowledge to the next generation. Our project will take a proactive approach to fostering healthy habits and effective nutritional education. We all have an interest in working with children as well as in nutrition and this project perfectly combines both of those passions. Our interactive workshop, including food preparation, is a practical approach to contribute to the food literacy of youth. Desserts are a preferred food by this age group (and adults as well) and will create more interest and involvement by the kids!  

Our interests

All our group members are in the Food, Nutrition and Health program at UBC, so we are all interested in topics related to human nutrition (and we all love desserts).  Learning nutrition is not only important for ourselves, but also in helping others improve their health status, raise their nutritional awareness, as well as to find new alternatives to traditional foods that are simple, nutritious and tasty.  We are excited to interact with the children while we apply our in-class knowledge to our workshop.

Our goals

In this project, we look forward to gaining skills and experience in conducting food literacy workshops specifically with youth. This will be beneficial for future career opportunities in raising nutritional awareness in the community. We also aim to gain nutritional knowledge specific to the age group we are working with as well as the area of desserts and sweets and recipe development.

Project objectives

Our project aims to plan and execute food literacy workshops to introduce healthy, flavourful desserts for the children in the out of school care (OSC) program at Gordon Neighbourhood House. We intend to develop 1-2 healthy dessert recipes that the children will be able to make, enjoy and have as an after school snack. We also plan to provide printed recipes of the desserts so the children can take them home and prepare it with their families. We want the kids to have fun making these healthy foods and hopefully, their enthusiasm and new knowledge of cooking will be passed along to their friends and families.

First impressions

GNH has a clear food philosophy that aims to contribute to food justice as well as implement the concept of asset-based community development. We love the idea of contributing to an organization that emphasizes food justice within their community. GNH programs and projects reflect the needs and characteristics of West End residents and neighbourhood which includes food related projects.

Similar to what Ernesto stated in his TED Talk, it is important to stop and listen to those we are aiming to help. Neighbourhood houses, like the one we are partnering with, are huge facilitators and leaders in building relationships within the community and it is important that we engage ourselves in a modest yet meaningful way. Contribution comes from all members of the community and leadership should be distributed. GNH  utilizes their human resources, land, and community support to implement their projects focusing on what everyone has to offer, rather than what is offered by external sources. As a group we were inspired by the way Joey described their events. GNH strives to encourage an uplifting, fun and exciting environment by using games, music and supplemental activities. GNH programs go against the stigma of how people view poverty; instead they use their resources to provide for those in their community and give individuals the respect they deserve.

 

About us | Welcome to our blog!

Hi, I am Diala Shaheen and I’m studying Food, Nutrition & Health in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems hoping to pursue a graduate degree in sport nutrition.  Other than human nutrition, I am interested in culinary arts and recreating traditional dishes with a healthy twist.

My name is Lauren Priest and I am in the faculty of LFS with a major in Food, Nutrition and Health. After my undergraduate studies, I hope to pursue a degree in Medicine. Outside of school, I love playing sports such as basketball and field hockey, hiking and volunteering.

Hi! I’m Renee Kong and I am studying Nutritional Sciences in the faculty of Land & Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. Besides being a full-time student, I enjoy exploring the outdoors & hiking, going to the gym, and spending time doing fitness-related activities. I aspire to become a dietitian and work with athletes, in the future.

Hi, my name is Ted Yu, and I am studying Nutritional Sciences at UBC.  I’ve always been interested in nutrition and how foods biochemically interact with our system ever since I was young.  There are still so many unknown areas in the nutrition discipline, so I’m really excited about my major.  Currently, I’m really into intermittent/long-term fasting and their effects on human’s fat metabolism.