Blog 4: Our Farewell

What?

Over the last few weeks we have been working hard to finalize the last details of our project. We have been in contact with our community partner and over the last week we had the opportunity to do a school visit to watch the program in action. We did the school visit over two days to allow the majority of our group to attend and observe. On each day the visit was done at different schools.

 

November 15 2017: Visit at Florence Nightingale School

We are asked to arrive in the cafeteria of the elementary early in the morning at 8:30 AM. Upon arrival, we met with the primary breakfast producer Nancy, who is in charge of general food preparation of the school. There were no volunteers aside from Nancy to help run the breakfast program. On most mornings, there are a few breakfast options serving a total of 40 to 50 children. The two breakfast options on that day were either cheese toast or a choice between cereal or oatmeal for children that do not prefer cheese. Both options are accompanied by seasonal fruits such as sliced oranges or apples. Usually, there are no leftover foods however occasionally, foods that are leftover are packaged for snacks on the bus. Each morning, Nancy begins preparing at 8:00 AM and usually finish food preparation at 8:30 AM. It takes the children around twenty minutes to complete breakfast and school starts at 9:00 PM. According to Nancy, the sources of food come from a food distribution center partly sponsored by the Breakfast Club of Canada and the children were given the option to choose which breakfast they wanted earlier in the month. Something that is different from expected was the lack of volunteers involved with the program at this location and also the fact Nancy created most of the recipes herself. Overall, we had a great visit and felt very warming watching children eating breakfast.

 

November 16 2017: Visit at Queen Alexandra School

We visited Queen Alexandra School the day after visiting Florence Nightingale School. We met with Ryan and Jessica at 8:30am. They led us to the dining room in the basement where we visited the kitchen and the cafeteria. The staff prepared a Cheese Hash Brown Wrap that morning with milk and fruits that they served every single morning like bananas and blueberries. The operators who cook the breakfast are staff working in the school. The staff told us that there are usually 35 – 50 students per day, which would be considered a high attendance rate. For breakfast they serve hot meals every day and the foods are normally easy to go since some older kids prefer “to-go” rather than sitting in cafeteria. They prepare food with a strict control, so there is usually no left over. The ingredients they use are purchased online, and certain companies will order for them.

Ryan and Jessica told us that a high proportion of kids in this school are facing poverty. Therefore, there are many other food programs in Queen Alexandra for helping alleviate food insecurity. For example, a program called “Backpack Buddies” that gives kids bags of pasta sauce for free during Christmas and school breaks. There is another one called “Firefighter” that provides snakes to school every year. Ryan also said that only a small portion in total 90 elementary schools in Vancouver have breakfast programs, so there is still a lot we could do for helping kids who are food insecure.

So What?

From this learning, we considered the fact that older school aged children prefer “on the go” meals. In our recipe book we include a large “on the go” section that includes meals for these students who prefer not to sit down in the school cafeteria. We also took into consideration the proportion of students participating in the program and expanded our serving sizes within the recipes to ensure no food is going to waste. We also took into consideration the fact that most of the volunteers in the program are staff at the school. From this learning we adjusted our recipes to include simple directions and recipes with fewer ingredients so that the staff could successfully recreate the recipes.

Moreover, we found that the standard breakfast recipe repeats after 7 day in Florence Nightingale School (see pic). The children may be bored with eating the same kind of breakfast every week. Therefore, we adjusted our recipes to include different styles of breakfast and tried to avoid repetition. Also, we double check each other’s work and make sure every user of our recipe can fully understand the directions. By making these changes, we hope our recipe will be helpful and useful for both children and kitchen stuffs in the school.

Now What?

From this learning, we are going to do the last editing for our recipes including proofreading and editing the layout. No matter what kind of difficulty we met, or the potential drawback there was, we were still happy that we could contribute to this project, and it was a pleasure to be given the opportunity to collaborate with the Breakfast Club of Canada.

Moving forward, we hope more and more people can pay attention to the problem of children food insecurity, because children’s health is vital to the nation’s present and its future. Through providing them healthy and nutritious breakfast, it will help children to keep up with the demands of growth and development. Since children’s healthy growth is of the most vital indicators of health that want to see; we hope all parts of society can dedicate to this project, like donating money or volunteering in the organizations. Though our joint efforts, the end of children’s food insecurity should not be far away. In the future, when afforded the opportunity, we hope to use our professional knowledge and experience to mitigate food insecurity in further place.

 

Some final words:

It is time to say goodbye. We thank you for all of your time on reading the posts we have blogged so far. Even though it is end of this project, it is not end of our academic career. We will continue to study in seeking better solutions to contribute to solving food insecurity one day. We appreciate the chance to work with our community partner, Breakfast Club of Canada. We have truly cherished the experience and the friendship we gain from this project.

Blog Post 3: Our Graceful Dismount

Strategies For A Graceful Dismount

As you all know from our previous post, we had a crazy couple of weeks trying to figure out the recipe book and setting up a time to meet with our community partners, Robin and Ryan. We have been continuing to develop our recipe book and keep in contact with our partners as our journey slowly comes to an end. There is still a lot to be done before we reach our final destination and as things are finally coming into place our weekly objectives are changing. Below we outline what our previous objectives had been and some additional ones that have been added as the weeks go on.

Week 8: October 22-28

Previous Objective:

  • Learn how to display collected data in a clear and effective way

Additional Objectives:

  • Continue to add to our recipe draft and send draft to our community partner

Achievements:

We have made good progress with finalizing which recipes will be in the cookbook. On October 23 we had sent out our first draft of our recipes to our community partner. Within a couple days we received feedback on how we should display the recipes. This helped fulfill our objective of learning how to display collected data in a clear and effective way.

 

Week 9: October 29-November 4

Previous Objective:

  • Understand what is required to complete a strong, well done, final project

Additional Objectives:

  • Continue to edit the recipes using the feedback received from our community partner

Achievements:

So far this week we have managed to fully understand what is expected in our recipe draft from discussion with our community partner. We used the feedback we received to edit the draft and on November 1, we sent another copy over to Robin, Ryan, and Angel for more feedback. We are continuing to refer back to our initial goals to keep them in mind as we edit. Over the next couple of weeks we hope to hear more feedback from our community partner as our project slowly comes together!

 

Project Progress Due Dates
Send rough draft of recipes to our community partner October 23
Edit recipes and resend draft November 1
Edit once again and send final draft November 15
Final editing and completion of project November 30

 

This table briefly outlines our upcoming due dates for our project to keep us on track

Moment of Significant Change

Through drawing out our emotion v.s skills graphs, we realized how similar we were feeling throughout different stages. In the last 8 weeks, we have done a lot of group works and assignments together. Overall, we had a fun time working together and tackling all the difficulties form our project especially when we just started our project. We were really excited to meet each other and to communicate with our project partner who was helpful and gave us a lot suggestions on how to start our project. However, things became tougher when we came across our first two blogs and proposal. We were repeatedly asked to resubmit our work, and even though we edited them several times, we still did not get a satisfactory grade, which was really frustrating. We thought it was the lack of skills and experience of writing blogs and proposals that led to our unexpected results. However, as we continue to go through this process we are learning what is needed of us and how to improve. The other thing that did not go well was planning our school visit, which should have been set up a few weeks ago before we started our first recipe draft. The emotion graph reflects more about our confidence level. When we first started our project, we were excited and confident in what we were going to do. However, the curve declined significantly when we got our feedback for the first blog, reflecting a decline in our confidence. Interestingly, our confidence was boosted when we uploaded the second blog. There is an increasing trend after we finished our project draft as we understand more and get more familiar with our project.

As shown in the skills and knowledge graph, there was a common pattern of increased growth. Surprisingly, some of us learnt a lot from getting feed back, while some of us got confused and unsure when things didn’t go our way. As we came closer to the due day of our project draft, we gained greater understanding, realized what we could have done better before, and recognize what we can do to improve our project in the future.

 

Our strategies for successful project completion are as following:

  • To communicate efficiently within our group to keep everyone updated regarding of the project process.
  • To continuously keep contact with our community partners asking for feedback.
  • To set regular group meetings working on editing our recipe book.
  • To make the most of our flexible learning time checking in with all of our group members and ensuring everyone is on the same track.
  • To compare our recipe book with previous one trying to find the strengths and limitations of our recipe book.
  • To monitor and assimilate all information into one document rather than have to amalgamate all the information to assure coherence among the project.
  • To set deadlines ahead of time to limit stress as final exams approach, starting to prepare for the group presentation, final report and infographic.
  • To keep positive attitude and mindset, and rise to the challenge.
  • To reflect on the feedback from the community partners and some unsolved challenges of this project and provide suggestions for future collaborators working on this project.

Blog 2: Where We Are At

Project Proposal and Progress

Project Proposal

Week 1+2

Objective:

Keep up with lectures, tutorials and readings to become more aware of community-based experiential learning.

Achievements:

  • Familiarized ourselves with the different community-based projects
  • Read into and became comfortable with the learning objectives
  • Chose projects which spoke to our interests

 

Week 3+4

Objective:

Understand our project and get to know the members of the group.

Achievements:

  • Got in touch with our community partner, Ryan
  • Met with our community partners in person, and attended orientation along with other groups
  • Had a basic understanding about the project
  • Crafted a team charter and identified each other’s strengths and assigned tasks for individuals
  • Posted our first blog
  • Finalized our ideas and made sure everyone in the group is aware of the goal and objectives of the project.
  • Contacted our community partner, and set up a time to meet at a elementary school to have a casual conversations with kids.
  • Set up rough dates to show Ryan our chapter ideas, draft and final recipe books.

 

 

 

Week 5+6

Objective:

Have a clear idea of what our goals, finish the project proposal and set up a visit in an elementary school

Achievements:

  • Created our group proposal, highlighting the background, significance, research questions, and methods
  • Came up with the layout of the recipe book. This includes different chapters that will be used to organize the recipes.
  • Haven’t heard back from our community partner about the school visit yet, but hopefully it can happen next week.

 

Moments of Significance:

What:

One moment of significance that has occurred so far has been with the development of the chapters. We have been gathering together and discussing about how to categorize food recipes quite often these couple weeks and we all got to know each other better especially throughout activities in class. We have been in contact with our community partner, Robyn Ryan, to finalize the chapters that will be included in the book. This includes the wording of the chapters as well. As originally we wanted to include “Desserts for Breakfast” and have sweeter yet healthier recipes, our community partner suggested that the wording may be inappropriate and can lead to promotion of dessert. This was not our intentions. In addition, our meeting with a local elementary school which was supposed to happen 2 weeks ago, still hasn’t happened yet, because our community partner didn’t reply or contact us for the past two weeks, thus we are sort of behind in our recipe book development.

 

So What:

From this, we have done a lot of research on different recipes that would be suitable for our desired chapters. We learned how wording can influence breakfast choices within the program. Simply having the word dessert within the recipe book may mislead users into serving sugary breakfast options compared to the ones given in the book. We are now more aware of these little things and are becoming more careful with our wording.

“Certain kinds of difficulty, certain kinds of obstacles, can actually improve our performance.”(Harford, 2016). As Tim Harford (2016) explained in his Ted Talk, when we are having some problems in our project that stops us from proceeding, that is when we should step out of our box since “the box we have is full of holes.” (Harford, 2016) It was frustrating when we were asked to take out certain materials or some categories, but there is no doubt that it also allows us to think of other things to substitute in. We believe that being able to accept criticism leads to better growth and can benefit the project.

 

Now What?

From this learning, we have gone back to editing the chapters to make sure the wording is appropriate for what we are trying to suggest. Our next actions include editing the chapters and continuing with the recipe book development, ensuring that the options provided are nutritional and also affordable. We will take the criticism that we receive from our community partner and use it to better our chapter ideas. Since we haven’t heard back from our community partner about the school visit, we will continue to try to get in contact with them so that we can plan a school visit as soon as possible. Since visiting schools and talking with kids and volunteers are crucial for us to understand kids’ food preferences and all the challenges volunteers encountered with when prepares food, we will try to get our visit done by the deadline of our first draft. Then we will have more thoughts on editing by the time we get feedbacks from our community partner. We hope that by visiting the school, we will be able to figure out the cooking settings that are available in schools and the breakfast kids have currently, which gives us a better idea of what we have and how we could improve. In the upcoming weeks, we will focus on ensuring what we are doing aligns with our objective and taking into account what our community partner is concerned about. We should assign individual work to each member and have regular team check-ins making sure everyone is on the same page and there are no overlaps in content.  

We will also do some research and brainstorm new ideas that would contribute to our recipe book. For instance, what kind of ingredients meet the needs of nutrition and low cost. By doing this, we will need to make our objectives a reality in order to achieve our aims and implement deadlines for our ongoing work to keep our group organized and maximize our efficiency.

 

Upcoming Objectives and Strategies

Week 7

Objective:

Work on researching and creating recipes with community partners guidelines. And schedule a time for school visiting this week.

Strategies to achieve:

  • Starting up with brainstorming ideas for different chapters
  • Researching academic literature and online resources

Week 8

Objective:

Learn how to display collected data in a clear and effective way

Strategies to achieve:

  • Each of our members looks up for 8-9 receipts
  • Come together as a group with our ideas and put them together
  • Everyone post their inputs by October 23

Week 9

Objective:

Understand what is required to complete a strong and well-done final project

Strategies to achieve:

  • Asking for feedbacks from our community partner
  • Refer back to initial goals to make sure our recipe book is within the designated guidelines of the project
  • Working as a group coming up with a plan for editing  

week 10

Objective:

Resend in all the drafts for final edit

Strategies to achieve:

  • Distributing individual work to each group member.  
  • Focusing on checking grammatical errors and designing layouts for the recipe book

 

Reference:

Harford, T (2016). How messy problems can inspire creativity Ted Talks 2016.[Video File].  Retrieved from: https://youtu.be/Jd_j_kw_jZQ

 

Blog 1: Let’s start from here!

Breakfast Recipe Book for Canadian Children

About Us

Natalie Sousa:

My name is Natalie Sousa and I am currently in the dietetics program in year 3 of 5! I got into this program because I am passionate about prevention within healthcare and management of chronic diseases through diet and lifestyle choices.  I choosethis project because I am interested in how the program targets school children and makes healthy eating more enjoyable for them and more affordable for the parents. From this project I hope to gain more knowledge about working within a community and with a community partner.

Cynthia Zhu:

 

My name is Cynthia Zhu and I am currently in the third year ofGlobal Resource System program. I am interested in traveling and exploring different cuisines from around the globe. As a foodie, I have always loved food and have the passion to learn about nutrition and healthy lifestyle. I believe that making healthy daily food choices is essential for every child’s growth and development; so, I really appreciate the chance to be a part of the Breakfast Club of Canada project to help children have delicious and healthy meals.

Zhuyun(

Michelle) Yang:

I am a fourth year Nutritional Sciences student. I’m passion about maintaining health over lifespan through keeping healthy eating. I love children and I have the passion for helping kids with malnutrition. Children are most vulnerable to undernutrition and they are facing threats to their nutritional intake from diseases. I love to work with kids and help them out. Based on my previous volunteer experience at a dental clinic, I realized that providing high-quality care to patients was a medical imperative. I want to get involved in health care profession and make some impacts on ensuring more satisfactory patient experience.

Guoling Fan:

My name is Guoling Fan, I am a third year nutritional science student who loves cooking, baking and doing any handcrafts at home. It has been about 2 years since I came here to Canada, and I gained more than 5kg in the first year. Since then, I started to take care of my own diet, realizing how bad my food choices used to be. Just like all the other students in our faculty, my life has always been revolving around food.  I am glad that I am in this faculty because I can actually learn things that I am interested in. Forget to mention that my biggest interest is watching dog videos on facebook.

 

Chenyu Wang:

Hi! My name is Chenyu Wang but you can just call me Ric. I grew up in Vancouver and went to Waterloo for university to study computer science.In my early university life I realized that health is extremely important and as a result I transferred to UBC to study nutrition. Right now I am a fourth year FNH student just trying to make my last year of university memorable. I love our project with the Breakfast Club of Canada and believe our group will work together smoothly. I look forward for a great year!

 

Yilin Cao:

My name is Yilin Cao and I prefer the name Ellen. I am in the third year of nutritional science. I was transferred from Sauder two years ago when I found I am more interested in science than business. Learning pure chemistry or biology may be tedious, but nutrition is so related to our daily lives. I would easily feel achieved if I eat healthily or I help others to improve their eating habits, even just a little bit. I am interested in cooking as well and enjoy cooking creative and nutritious food. Our project provides me a chance that I can combine my interests together, which makes me so excited. Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing any outcomes three months later.

Left to Right: Michelle, Chenyu, Ellen, Cynthia, Natalie, and Guoling.

Group Interests, Goals, and Reasons for Choosing the project

Our group chose this project because of our interest and passion in nutrition. As we are all in the Land and Food Systems faculty it is no surprise that we have an interest within the food system. All of us are pursuing careers within nutrition. With this project we hope to gain experience working with a community partner within a nutrition education setting. Moreover, we believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is especially necessary to kids because it enables them to concentrate better, study wiser, and improves sport performance. However, In Canada, 1/5 of the children start the school with empty stomachs because of a lack of access to nutritious food (Breakfast Club of Canada, 2017). That means nearly 1 million children are at risk of going to school on a empty stomach (Breakfast Club of Canada, 2017). Therefore, we hope to promote the importance of breakfast and prevent school kids from starting their day on a empty stomach.                              

Project Objectives and Community Organization About our Community Partner

Our community partner, Breakfast Club of Canada, is a non-profit and nation-wide organization which devotes to help children access to healthy morning meals with their office located in the heart of downtown. They have served almost 33 million breakfasts per year and have feed about 204,000 students per day in Canada. They believe “serving students a healthy, balanced breakfast help them develop better social skills and makes them more inclined to learn” (Breakfast Club of Canada, 2017). In this organization, they have a lot of volunteers to help schools to prepare students’ meals. However, one tool they are lacking is a easy and nutritional recipe book that can be used within the schools. Therefore, our group members who study food and nutrition, and have the passion to support our community, are willing to work with the Breakfast Club of Canada to create a fun, healthy and affordable recipe book for young students.   

Our project is dedicated to achieve the following objectives:

  • To develop an accessible, nutritious, and creative recipe book that schools can use to serve healthy breakfasts to students
  • To overcome the barriers to succeed in involving more kids who are food-insecure and even food-secure
  • To highlight nutrient aspects of different ingredients and guide kids to choosing more nutrient-dense and healthy meals
  • To consider culture factors affecting food preferences and incorporate the idea of creating inclusive dietary practice
  • To provide varieties of food recipes that apply to kids with different food preferences and dietary restrictions

Goal of The Project

The goal of this project is to create a fun recipe book that will be available for schools to use to provide healthy, and affordable food ideas. We believe informing children about the benefits of healthy eating at a younger age will benefit them as they grow up and develop habits, especially relating to nutrition. Early life influences can impact their health status later on, and developing healthy eating habits can be beneficial.

First Impressions

When we met with our Community Partner, Robin Ryan, it was very clear how enthusiastic they were about our involvement and they made us feel welcomed and excited to be involved. During the meeting, our Community Partner had mentioned that they wanted us to include accessible and cheap ingredients found in their community. Specifically they mentioned that they usually had eggs and milk supplied by other donation organizations. Since Breakfast Club of Canada is a non-profit organization, they suggested that we make our recipes as simple as possible considering volunteers’ limited skills. Related to what we learned in lecture about asset-based community, of which the main idea is to focus on what you have and stop looking at what you do not possess in a community (van deur Walt et al., 2014), we got the idea that asset-based community is a kind of development process by identifying and leveraging the existing assets to create their own economic opportunities (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). Taking the advantage of present resources and assets is more sustainable than importing resources from others in the respect of economy and ecology. Applying the knowledge to our project, the budget, ingredients and skills of operators are all limited, so our recipes have to be appropriate and accessible to adapt to the existing limited resources for a sustainable development.

In the last lesson, we learned about food justice. Food justice is a broad term. As LaDonna mentioned in TED, food justice involves all the processes in the food systems (Redmon, 2013). For example, food justice is not only the accessibility to nutritious, sufficient and affordable food, but also about the expectation that all the workers associated with food are paid fairly. To address an even broader aspect, food justice is a historical and worldwide problem since there are still people in some areas like Africa starving because of no available food (Redmond, 2013). Related to what we learned from last lesson, our project in some extend is to deal with the food injustice; because our community partner, the program analyst in breakfast club of Canada, told us that this program is mainly focusing on helping students who are in food insecurity. We are expected to write creative and nutritious breakfast recipes with a very limited budget for these students.

At the end of our meeting and just before we left, our community partner stopped us and asked us if we could manage to meet in a local elementary school in early October and chace casual conversations  with the kids there. This reminded us of Ernesto Sirolli’s TED talk, where he advises that people who trying to help should first “shut up and listen”, so that they are not arriving in community with their own idea and trying to find out what community wants to have (Sirolli, 2012). We appreciate that we are able to have personal interactions with the kids in this program, listen to what they really want to do and make changes to our project according to their own preferences. As what Ernesto Sirolli says in his TED talk, we want to communicate with them as a friend, so we can get the best results we both want. This emphasizes the importance of being kind and friendly, especially when we are working with kids. We should be able to help kids to express their feelings feeling comfortable with talking with us.  

References

Breakfast Club of Canada – Home. (2017). Breakfast Club Canada – Club des petits déjeuners. Retrieved 22 September 2017, from http://www.breakfastclubcanada.org

Gottlieb, R., & Joshi, A. (2010). Food Justice. MIT Press.

Redmond, L. (2013, March 4). Food + Justice = Democracy: LaDonna Redmond at TEDxManhattan 2013 [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=694&v=ydZfSuz-Hu8

Sirolli, E. ( 2012, November 26). Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXsLtHqfdM

Van der Walt, L., Hawley, A., Carter, S. (2014, October 16) ABCD Animation [Video File]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_muFMCLebZ4

 

Alison, Mathie., Gord, Cunningham. (2003) From clients to citizens: Asset-based Community Development as a strategy for community-driven development. Development in Practice. 13:5, 474-486. Retrieved from http://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/doi/abs/10.1080/0961452032000125857

Resources

Breakfast club of Canada homepage: http://www.breakfastclubcanada.org/