Farewell

 

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can used to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

Hello for the very last time… ūüôĀ

The last three months have been spent planning and implementing our food literacy workshops with the kids from the after school program at Gordon Neighbourhood House (GNH). As the term comes to an end and thus our time as a team; we wanted to take a moment to reflect upon a moment of significance our team shared while doing our Community Based Experiential Learning (CBEL) project.

What?  

If you’ve been keeping up with our journey, you may remember us stating a moment of significance being the personal relationship we developed with each other. It is safe to say this was one of the definite highs of the course, but since then we have actually spent time hands on at GNH and found that experience to be far more significant. Prior to the first day of the workshop, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. Planning on spending the full three hours on food literacy, we arrived with plenty of activities and a program design that would keep everyone entertained. After this first day noting the high energy levels resulting from a full day spent in school prior to the program, we realized in order to make the program as effective as possible we needed to make some changes to our next approach. With the bread baking we found that focus was significantly reduced after the first hour, and it may not be realistic to expect participation for such an extended period of time. Although participation in the actual bread making declined each time the bread had to rise, there was still a lot of excitement surrounding making and eating their own food. This excitement was specifically noted upon our arrival to the second workshop day when a girl enthusiastically cried out:

“Do we get to make food again today!?‚ÄĚ

 This exclamation showed us the extent of (what we initially thought of as) a small impact, can have.  

Preparing all our ingredients to make our very own ice cream!

So what?

With regards to program adjustments the second day, we came with fewer activities planned which would allow the kids more free time instead of being an extension of their school day. We also brought with us a direct method of evaluation; ‚ÄúDraw a Picture of a Healthy Plate‚ÄĚ where we got the kids to draw what they believe to be a healthy meal on ¬†a paper with a picture of a plate on it (pictured below). This was helpful to our assessment in addition to the questions we had asked on the first day, but also proved to be a really fun activity for the kids.

By utilizing our first workshop experience to create a better one the second time, we already felt more confident to make a greater impact this time around. However, upon hearing the excitement in the girls voice about our return, our confidence was boosted up and this allowed us to better deliver the presentation. Initially our project felt almost like there was no significant impact being left behind with these kids, especially since our bread making workshop didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Our expectations were much like those of Dan Barber (2011) who felt he could perfectly replicate another project and there would be no downfalls¬†(1). We found the bread workshop idea from an online source that made it sound like an ideal activity for elementary aged children. However, we did not consider the large size of the group of children we are working with, or the energy levels they will have after a full day of learning at school. ¬†For these reasons, we were not what we would define as successful in our first endeavour at the Gordon Neighbourhood House and thus felt it was a total flop.¬†

Nevertheless, seeing the excitement when we came back the second time, led us to believe we are making a meaningful impact in some sort of way amongst these children.

Drawing their definition of a “healthy” meal
The kids making their own ice cream!

 

Now What?

Now that we realize all the time and effort we put into planning and executing made such a significant impact, we feel more inclined to further seek out knowledge and experiences to better understand the importance of working with youth to solve bigger world problems. Children tend to admire and respect parents and educators, and see them as role models (2). Although this was only a couple of hours out of our day, experiences like this are remembered by youth much more actively. We strongly feel that these sort of workshops can impact children to a great extent in terms of positively impacting food literacy skills. For only $2 per child, we were able to spend time getting children excited about learning how to prepare food. This has shown to be a great impact for a relatively small price.  Ideally, we want to be able to have a repertoire of techniques to be able to not only offer our own workshops (of any sorts), but also be able to guide others in how to be successful in likewise endeavours. Collectively, we feel more ready to take on intiatives that provide educational resources to tackle food literacy issues through the power of educating youth in our future careers as food systems professionals

As you hopefully already know, we had a great time working together on our CBEL project. We truly hope you enjoyed following our adventure at the Gordon Neighbourhood House! ¬†Farewell…

Our very own, Colleen, dancing with her homemade ice cream!

References

  1. Barber, D. (Speaker). (2011, Dec. 2nd). Poultry Slam 2011: Act 3: Latin Liver [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radioarchives/episode/452/poultry-slam-2011?act=3#play
  2. Children look up to parents. (2014 ) South Wales Echo. Retrieved from: http://www.lexisnexis.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/hottopics/lnacademic/?shr=t&csi=244364&sr=HEADLINE(%22Children+look+up+to+parents%22)+and+date+is+2014

 

Strategies for a Graceful Dismount

 

Hello and welcome to our blog post #3, the second last blog post following our adventures working with Gordon Neighbourhood House!

Weekly Objectives and Achievements

What? This week we intended to finalize and execute our Day 1 of the program. We had unanimously decided that for the first day, our main activity was going to be baking bread, to increase food literacy through introducing basic cooking skills. In addition to baking, we planned to assess other aspects of food literacy through personal interviews with the kids.

As we mentioned in our last blog posting, this week we intended to finalize and execute our Day 1 of the program. We had unanimously decided that for the first day we were going to bake bread with the kids. This activity along with verbal questioning would allow us to assess their level of competency in the kitchen.

As a group we met the day prior to our program to test out the recipe and ensure everything would run smoothly on the day. This meeting also allowed us to better explain to the kids what would, and had occurred during the baking process. Additionally, it allowed us to bring a healthy snack to Gordon Neighbourhood House for the kids to try as they waited for their own bread to rise. We also researched and chose additional food science activities to do while waiting for the bread to rise; such as the polyphenol oxidation reaction of banana peels, and surface tension repulsion between milk and detergent. All objectives previously planned for this week were executed successfully.  

 

Workshop Day one…

Overall we agreed that the execution of our lesson plan went as smooth as possible. We arrived as a group with plenty of time to spare before the 3:30 pm arrival of our 16 participants, we set the room up into four stations; 1. Bread making, 2. Polyphenol oxidation of banana peels, 3. Surface tension using milk and dish detergent, 4. Vegetable colouring sheets.

It was a bit of a struggle to gain control of the room, but once all children were seated we were able to ask names and a favourite food; nearly ¬ĺ of the children stated pizza as their favourite food. After getting to know a bit about the kids we brought them over to our first station to start making the bread. Here we asked the groups if they had baked before to assess basic kitchen skills (the majority stated they had), if they had ever specifically baked bread (only a couple had), and if they knew the ingredient that would make the bread rise (answers given included flour, and the correct answer yeast). ¬†At this station we further broke into groups of three so that each group had 1-2 of us assisting them and coordinating the sharing of roles amongst the kids. As the first stages of bread-making were complete and bread needed to rise, children were able to choose which station they would like to go to next. After the bread completed its first rise, those who wanted to came back to complete the next steps. While the bread was rising a second time we prepared the bread we had made the day prior to give as a sample of what their bread would be like. Many children requested excessive use of butter on their bread, one child even asked for salt to be put on top of the butter.

*Graph we created in the ‚ÄúMoments of Significant Change‚ÄĚ Workshop
*Finalized Graph showing our group average emotion, skills, and knowledge

 

So what?¬†After completing the graph in the ‚ÄúMoments of Significant Change‚ÄĚ workshop, we noticed that we all had very similar feelings throughout our experience thus far. ¬†We all felt very excited when we met our group; We realized that we all had a lot in common. We all possessed the skills needed to accomplish our tasks because of our individual experiences working with children, and our knowledge in the health field. We are all a couple years older than the average third year student, which made us have a certain level of respect for one another, and because of this we were able to relate better to each other. This instant camaraderie amongst the group made us feel as though communication between the six of us was going to be easy, and would hopefully make this project flow smoothly.

Upon meeting our community coordinator, Isabel, we all felt very confident about our project. What we had been told when choosing the project in lecture when choosing the project aligned with what we were told by Isabel. This gave us confidence in our project in terms of what we were going to do with the kids and as a team we felt that we were prepared to tackle the project especially because we were expecting the challenges as outlined when we choose the project. Isabel was also very friendly and made us feel comfortable working with her especially with our communicators that need to be in touch with her. She felt like a resource instead of a boss and we were excited to start brainstorming food science activities and meet the kids. This was especially important for our group communicator, Megan, who will be in contact with Isabel throughout the length of the project. We saw Isabel as a valuable resource, and we were excited to start brainstorming food science activities and to meet the kids. Our knowledge on the low end because we were trying something new, but our skills were high because we believed that we still possessed the important skills needed for our project.

 

Writing and submitting blog post number one was more of a mixed experience. Overall, we were all looking forward to the idea of creating our own blog. We were excited to introduce ourselves, take a fun photo, and to write and share about our experiences in a personable and interactive way. Unfortunately, when it came down to creating the blog, none of us had any experience. As you can see on the graph, our skills and knowledge dropped drastically at this point. Not only did we lack experience, but it was very daunting looking at last year’s group’s blog posts. The instructions we were given regarding the blog were hard to follow, and initially we made a mistake when submitting the blog to our instructor. This had an effect on where we plotted our knowledge and skills at this point on the graph.

Preparing our proposal was difficult and our emotions, skills and knowledge dropped here. The hardest part about this assignment for us was figuring out where to start. With minimal resources and a vague idea of what was being asked of us, we hard a hard time getting the first words onto the page. Although we briefly went over the basics of a proposal in class, we felt that we lacked the skills and knowledge to actually write our own proposal. The lack of skills and the lack of knowledge on where to start and what was being asked of us was where we lost a lot of our excitement for this project; This is apparent on the graph, showing a steep drop in emotion.

We really struggled with blog post number two three as well, as seen in the graph. We had trouble getting started and our knowledge about the project felt low. We did little to progress our project in the weeks leading up to blog post 2; Because of this, we felt that we had little to write on. A lot of our time was spent working on the proposal and focusing on class readings; And when it came down to what were were going to be doing at the community house, we had yet to really sit down and discuss it with all the team members. It was also over reading week (aka university spring break) when we had to collaborate to get this blog post submitted, and this added stress to the assignment. For all of these reasons, our emotions were at their lowest.

We started to regain our excitement and momentum when we finalized our lesson plan for our first trip to GNH. This was an activity we all felt confident in, we had lots of ideas to contribute, and we were having fun putting everything together.We all felt confident in our lesson plan, and we had lots of ideas to contribute. We were even having fun putting everything together! Our skills went up on the graph, as we were excited to have the opportunity to use the skills we possessed in working with children in Day 1 of our program. We felt knowledgeable in this task, and we had clear directions going forward from our instructors and from Isabel. Our emotions went up as well, as we were able to communicate and collaborate with each other in a productive manner; Overall, we felt confident in how our assignment was proceeding.

Prior to our first workshop with the kids at GNH, we all felt excited but nervous meeting the kids for the first time. As presenting anything for the first, we were anxious at how we would perform and if we were going to be able to accomplish our goal of creating a fun learning environment We were very pleasantly surprised at how well our group was able to work together efficiently to create a positive experience for the kids and ourselves. We collectively decided that 4 activities we chose were appropriate for the kids age and involved technical food science terms that we could teach them.

We decided that the banana peel activity was a fun activity where the kids could learn about the science behind bananas turning brown. We felt that using fruit that the kids were all familiar with was a good way to engage their learning and interest in food science. We were unsure of a few things going in, such as supplies, logistics of our experiment, transportation and transitions from one experience to the next. We felt that using simple ingredients such as banana, milk, flour among others that the kids normally would have access to was the best approach into opening up their mind about food science. After our experience, we felt knowledgeable about what were were doing as a team and felt reassured with the support of our teachers and Isabel behind us.

To execute a smoother workshop in the future, we will take things we learned from this first session (such as to take the kids to the park first so they can get rid of all their energy and thus listen a bit better), and transfer it over to the second workshop in order to ensure that the kids are able to have fun and retain the most information. We hope to have every kid participate in our next workshop and feel comfortable to communicate with us about how they feel regarding our workshops or what they learn. Our ultimate goal is to have the kids apply their learning at home with their friends and family. Integrating the practical skills we teach them at an early age is important to help them understand that nutrition can be fun and that eating healthy food should be a lifestyle.

We didn’t really have much time to get into a discussion about the end of the term but we all knew that we would feel more skilled and knowledgeable by the time the term concluded. It would be different than when we first started due to the experience and exposure we will have had throughout the term. We outlined some strategies we hope to implement at the end of this blog to successfully complete the term and hopefully keep our emotions up through this stressful time.

We came to the overall conclusion while during our discussion about the significant change we all agreed that we were all feeling overwhelmed with both workload and lack of clarity with all the assignment around the time blog 2 was submitted. The was feeling was realized and affected us around the time blog 2 was submitted. Since then we have managed to increase clarity within the group and learned to ask for help from our TA when confused. , and After executing day one of the program we have increased or skills, knowledge, and confidence, as it relates to working with this particular group of children, and increasing food literacy. Moving forward towards the end of the term, as a group we foresee confidence, skills, and knowledge, continuing on an upward trend, reflecting that which we thought we had earlier on.

 

Successful Project Completion the Graceful Dismount

Prior to our first workshop with the kids at GNH, we all felt excited but nervous meeting the kids for the first time. We were very pleasantly surprised at how well our group was able to work together efficiently to create a positive experience for the kids and ourselves. Going into the first workshop, we all felt a bit anxious about how things would turn out, as presenting anything for the first time feels like. Nonetheless we all felt proud and happy by the end of it! To help us ¬†have a “graceful dismount” from our project, we will take things we learned from this first session (such as to take the kids to the park first so they can get rid of all their energy and thus listen a bit better), and transfer it over to the second workshop in order to ensure that the kids are able to have fun and retain the most information. We hope to have every kid participate in our next workshop and feel comfortable to communicate with us about how they feel regarding our workshops or what they learn. We also want to leave a positive impression of UBC on the Gordon Neighbourhood House, so it is essential for us to try our best to make the second session as positive of an experience as possible. In order to achieve a successful project completion, we will utilize our teamwork and communication skills to understand everyone’s role and make the next couple of weeks run efficiently. We feel that meeting with the group prior to the visits have been very helpful and beneficial so we all have a clear understanding of what is to be expected. Based on the first workshop, we now have a better understanding of what kind of activities to do and how to manage time more efficiently. We feel that it is important for all the kids to participate actively so they can share their feelings with each other and be able to pass on their learning to their friends and family at home. We want to explore more challenging but fun activities for the kids to enlighten their learning and we feel that the first workshop has really helped us understand their level of knowledge regarding nutrition and food science. We were very pleased to have every member of the group present at the workshop and engage with the kids so we can see as a team how to improve ourselves for the next workshop and achieve the ‚Äúgraceful dismount.‚ÄĚ

Now what? As we wrap up the semester and our community project there are a few goals we would like to accomplish and finish to have, what we feel to be, a successful completion and a graceful dismount.

  We would like to leave on a positive note with our community partner, the GNH, by providing impactful workshops. To accomplish this, we have tried our best to make each session a positive learning environment. After the first session, we have more insights on what to do to make the second session more engaging. Using insights like keeping this simple, using better time management strategies to make things more efficient and getting more feedback from the children will be our strategy to create a more successful session. We feel that it is important for all the kids to participate actively so we are going to make more of an effort to engage each child. We want to start more conversations with the children about food literacy and food science learn enough to be able to pass on their new insights to their friends and family at home. We want to
explore more challenging but fun activities for the kids to enlighten their
learning and we feel that the first workshop has really helped us understand
their level of knowledge regarding nutrition and food science so we are able to
build off that. By ending on our last and most refined session, we hope to
leave a good impression of the children as well as the community partner coordinators. We plan to be thankful and appreciative to our coordinators who have given us the opportunity and welcomed us into the GNH.

 We would like to use the skills we have learned to work as a team to finish with a strong final assignment and presentation. We have learned many valuable lessons regarding working as a team with our unique group. Understanding what works for us in terms of dividing work and getting projects in on time (finally figured that out!) was curtail to our success as a team and we will use this knowledge as we go forward. Practicing communication throughout the term we have developed a strategy that works to keep us all in the loop. We felt that meeting before we presented at the GNH helped us feel more prepared and confident so we will continue to do that. We feel confident that we can successful complete the last few projects of the term by utilizing the strategies we have learned.

Using the strategies mentioned above we feel confident that we can execute a graceful dismount and end the term on a great note!

Tune in next time for our very last blog post!! We are very excited for the next workshop and to WOW the kids with even more Food Science fun!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project Proposal & Group Objectives

 

Bread we pre-made as a test for our first session

Welcome back to our blog! Todays blog post will be updating you on where we are at with our Food Myth busters adventures…

Our Weekly Objectives and Achievements

As we continue to work towards implementing our project at Gordon Neighborhood House in the coming weeks, we have been setting weekly goals to ensure that we stay on track.  During week 4, we began thinking about our proposal and during this week we designed a rough idea of our project purpose and objectives.  Week 5 focused on writing and revising our proposal, finalizing some ideas, and getting the group as well as our community partner, on the same page. We ensured we were all aware of group objectives, goals, and the project purpose.

Currently (weeks 6-7), our goal is to finalize the program so that we know exactly what activities we will we be doing with the kids and the purpose of these specific activities. We want to ensure that our activities are not only exciting and engaging for the children, but also implement food literacy knowledge effectively. During week 8, we will meet with our community partner to execute Program Day 1. The following week will be focused on reflecting on how well Day 1 went; What worked what didn’t? How can we improve to make Day 2 better?

Finally, during week 10, we will meet again with our community partner for Program Day 2; But this time we will implement a different activity with the children. We will assess the information the kids retained from day 1, and determine whether our program was successful.

Our Reflection:

What? –¬†A moment of significance we have encountered in this course so far was when we had the opportunity to share personal stories with each member of the group. Prior to this experience, we did not know each other at all….you could say we were strangers…have much time to connect with one another on a deeper level so we all felt that this was a significant moment for us. We felt that¬†The¬†tutorial activities allowed us to bond as a team and get to know each other better creating a positive atmosphere and group chemistry. As each group member shared a¬†story, we were able to listen, reflect, and provide feedback as well as support. Each person‚Äôs story was relatable as we felt that we have a lot of similarities among ourselves. The only limiting factor we experienced during this activity was the shortage of time as we have 6 members and everyone wanted to provide their feedback thoroughly for each person.

So what? –¬†The difficult aspect of working with a group to achieve a certain goal is finding ways to emphasize and use¬†everyones varying strengths. As we all were strangers before this class, there was a level of uncomfortableness coming into such a situation where we suddenly had to plan and execute a whole project together. We found that the¬†story sharing activity taught us to be open with each other without fearing judgement or negative consequences. With the oncoming pressures of actually executing this project, the level of understanding of each others strengths will positively benefit us as we try to turn¬†this “messy” project into a successful endeavour. As Tim Harford (2016) explained in his Ted Talk, that when you reach the point where the¬†projects problems seem impossible to solve, and you reach the moment when the solution is unclear, that is when the group is most inspired to think creatively.We were able to bond with our group members on a more personal level which we believe will¬†create a safe environment¬†to be able to share and create ideas to further improve our project.all agreed was a beneficial¬†use of our class time. We felt that this was a genuine experience allowing us to utilize our individual skills and work on team building skills, as well as build¬†a positive dynamic for our group We are hoping this will make us more successful in our goals and this success¬†will be evident during our future workshops. We can confidently say this opportunity to build our team will result in a project that is more likely to run smoothly, be more organized, and ultimately be more efficient at achieving our goal of increasing the food literacy skills of children at the Gordon Neighbourhood House.¬†It was a rewarding experience as we were able to express our thoughts and feelings in the comfort of our group. We felt that the story sharing activity was beneficial all around for the people listening and for the person sharing their story. To improve the next story sharing activity, we decided it would be best to focus on 1 person at a time or 1 conversation rather than multiple conversation within our group.

Now what? With a big group of 6 members, it may be difficult to always listen to what someone is saying if everyone is talking at once or if there are multiple conversations going on as previously mentioned. ¬†We feel that in order to improve ourselves individually and as a group, we should focus on how to best¬†utilize our varying individual¬†skills to achieve the best outcome as a group. We feel that with more opportunities to share our personal feelings, we will be able to learn more about each other to create a good chemistry for our group. If we stick with our goals, we feel that we will perform our best when we hold the workshops at Gordon Neighborhood House for the kids and ourselves. Now that we have the awkward phase of getting to know each other and creating an efficient group dynamic over with, we feel that there is more time to focus on our ultimate goals for this whole project- Increasing food literacy skills amongst the children that attend the Gordon Neighbourhood House after school program.¬†As we feel comfortable and open with one another, the biggest issue we feel that we need to consider is how we can create a positive learning experience for the kids with the limited time we have.¬†The term is passing by really fast, so for the upcoming weeks we will focus on assigning tasks to each team member that align with our personal strengths. This is to ensure not only that everyone is participating an equal amount, but also able to complete the tasks in a timely manner. Another aspect we can focus on is making sure to take into account what our community partner is asking for. As Ernesto Sirolli (2012) described in his Ted talk, that there’s a significant importance in listening to the community you are trying to help, instead of assuming you know the best ways to do things. In this way we are now going to be shifting our focus onto understanding¬†the needs of the staff and children we will be interacting with. This will be done in order¬†know how to best use our time with them so that they gain the most from the experience.

We have decided to focus on 3 main objectives:

  1. Objective: to lay out concrete lesson plans for our two visits.
    Strategy: to find activities that are appropriate, fun,  and will provide a lesson in food literacy.
  2. Objective: to gather all materials we will need for our workshops. Strategies: to find out what we have access to at the community house by communicating with the coordinator and make an exact list keeping in mind the number of children, budget, and time. We will assign specific tasks to each group member.
  3. Objective: to find ways to determine the food literacy and skills of the children before and after our workshops. Strategies: create qualitative questions to ask the children and find a way to record the answers, tape record or carry a notepad, check to see if the children are participating, completing projects and recording all the data, create questions to ask the group and record a show of hands, try to get a sense of the demographic of the kids and record it, assign one person to do most of the recordings so that we don’t miss anything or misinterpret data.

 

PDF of Thank you for checking in on our progress! For our definition of Food Literacy, and for more information on our project, Check out our proposal report here: ProposalReport

 

References:

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

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

 

Welcome to our Food Mythbusters for Kids Blog… our 2017 Community Project!

At Gordon Neighborhood House (Left to Right: Marina, Colleen, Maxine, Jamie, Megan, Zoe)

“Children are regarded as a flower that needs nourishment, love and care. Think of our children as a garden, they need a place to show their beauty and pride.”¬†‚ÄĒ Cowichan Coast Salish (retrieved from¬†http://gordonhouse.org)

Welcome to our blog, Food Mythbusters for Kids! We are a group of 6 ladies, Colleen, Megan, Maxine, Zoe, Jamiee, and Marina, who are all undergraduate students a part of in the faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia. This term, we will we working with Gordon Neighborhood House to plan and implement food related workshops for the children involved in their after school program.The main objective we hope to achieve with these workshops is to promote food literacy with the kids that we are working with. We are defining food literacy as the understanding the impact of food choices on health, the environment, and the  economy (Food Literacy Center, 2015). We are looking forward to using our insights from FNH 350 to analyze and study the effects of our workshops with these kids and in the community around the Gordon Community House. We would like to start by briefly introducing ourselves, our interests, as well as our relevant experiences with children and/or food and nutrition.

In charge of communications, we have Colleen Cassidy¬†is¬†a 4th year Food, Nutrition and Health student who¬†has 10 years experience teaching dance to children ages 2-17. Colleen also has¬†as well experience working at ‚ÄėArts and Science‚Äô camps. She is very passionate about food, and working with children.

Also in charge of communications, is Megan Barnett¬†is¬†a 3rd year Food, Nutrition and Health student. Megan started working with kids ages 6-15 years old as a counselor, an arts and crafts instructor, a rock climbing instructor, a lifeguard, and a kitchen assistant about¬†seven years ago, at Camp Potlatch. During her time there, she worked with kids anywhere from 6-15 years old. At Camp Potlatch, Megan worked as a counselor, an arts and crafts instructor, a rock climbing instructor, a lifeguard, and a kitchen assistant. She is currently working at the UBC Aquatic Centre as a Lifeguard/Swim Instructor as well as a Day Camp Supervisor. She was interested in working on ‚ÄúMythbusters for Kids‚ÄĚ because she liked that it engaged children with food, and this was something she found very important.We decided to put two group members in charge of these blog posts, and these members are Maxine Somov and Zoe Schmidt.

Maxine and Zoe are both 3rd year Food, Nutrition and Health students, both interested in applying to the Dietetics program. Maxine has limited experience with children, but did work as a private tutor for a young lady with down syndrome throughout her high-school years. Maxine has extensive experience working in the nutrition field, and is currently sponsored by the natural supplement company ‚ÄúTotal Body Health Co‚ÄĚ. Maxine is a Bikini/Fitness competitor, who works with nutrition coaches to build diet plans and workout plans that will help her achieve her fitness goals. She won the overall award at her last competition and will be competing at the Provincial Championships for the second year in a row this July. She was interested in this community project because she is very passionate about food, and believes it is important to expose children to food science and nutrition at a young age.

Zoe is a certified lifeguard and swim instructor for kids of all ages, a gymnastics and summer camp coach for kids 6mo-7yrs, and is currently leading workshops for elementary school children through the program ‚ÄúNutrikids‚ÄĚ. Zoe has always found working with children to be fun and rewarding and is excited for what she will learn from this project.

Jamie Chun, who is also a 3rd year Food, Nutrition and Health student. Aside from currently working as a personal tutor for kids of all ages, she has many years of experience working with children at the Richmond Olympic Oval as a lead for rock climbing, skating, and other sporting events. She feels working on this community project will give her the opportunity to implement her direct studies in nutrition to positively influence for the kids. She also feels the experience will be very rewarding.

Finally, we have Marina Balic. Marina¬† who¬†is a 3rd year student enrolled in the Dietetics program. Marina has previously been involved in ‚ÄúNutrikids‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúFood for Thought‚ÄĚ, as well as ‚ÄúGeering Up Science‚ÄĚ and Engineering camps for kids, where she is able to work with a partner to plan, lead, and execute science/engineering related workshops with children all over the lower mainland, and including¬†surrounding¬†first nations communities. She chose this project because it is centered around improving children’s understanding and relationship with food – two topics she is very passionate about.

Although all of us have varying strengths and background, our team strives towards the common objective of promoting food literacy in the kids that we will be working with. We are working with a large number of children, of all ages and we have to all be on the same page, especially when leading the workshops. Outside of the workshops, this project requires a lot of work and insight from everyone on our team.  Our tasks will be delegated equally among the group members, with  Megan in charge of communications, Maxine and Zoe in charge of posting blogs, and all other members contributing equally to written assignments, editing, and providing constructive input. We all understand that this project will be almost impossible if we don’t all work together, communicate and carry our own weight. Although we will be delegating sections out to specific member to head, we will need input, insight and thought from everyone and that’s where the team work is required.

When Isabel, one of the coordinators at Gordon Community House, asked us why we chose the project, we all had very similar answers. We all wanted to pick a project where we were interacting with food, as well as with members of the community Рface to face. Although other projects seemed interesting and valuable to communities and cities, this was one of the projects where we would actually be interacting with others. It was also a plus for our group that these members of the community happened to be kids. We all love working with children, and as you can see we all have quite an extensive amount of experience working with them. Through our past experiences, we found working with kids not only to be a comfortable choice, but one that we would find rewarding. Also, all of our  As a group, we can all relate to each other through our members are passionate for food and nutrition, and wanted to choose a project that reflected that. We all have healthy eating habits, and believe strongly in the importance of modeling and instilling these habits in children. We want to be advocates for healthy eating and community and believe the most effective way of doing this is to start with children!

During the first meeting with the coordinator at the Gordon Neighbourhood¬†House we were familiarized with the details of our project. Such as, that the children are coming from Lord Roberts Elementary and Annex, a nearby school. The kids range in ages, starting at 5 to 10 years old¬†– this is going to be challenging, as a team we are going to have to split up and engage all the kids according to their age. We are expected to lead a workshop where the kids can learn something new and be able to participate either in doing an experiment, making new recipes or learning new cooking technique. Isabel explained that our project was going to be different from other projects. She helped us¬†became more familiar with not only the uncertainties of workshop planning, but those that come along with keeping children engaged. She emphasized that¬†working with these kids, even if¬†we prepare extensively, might not go as planned. We’re hoping to have plenty of backup activity options and to be flexible in order to best accommodate the learning needs of the children.

As a group we want to gain insight into a neighbourhood house. None of us have been to a neighbourhood house before and we’re excited to see the impacts that this home facility has on individuals and the community. We want to leave understanding the food security of this neighborhood house and of those that use the services at the facilityattend the home. We want to understand what the neighborhood house does to educate its members on healthy food choices especially the children. Overall we want to leave with a better understanding of the impact that this house has on its members in terms of food security and health. We are excited to work with these children who we learned today are almost all from single parent homes. We also want to see how these kids react and learn from the food science experiments we are going to be doing with them.

In accordance with Ernesto Sirolli’s TED Talk¬†(2012); we want to be there as an aid to the neighborhood house. This can only be achieved by taking a step back and listening to their needs before trying to implement our own ideas. We met with members of Gordon neighborhood House‚Äôs Food Team, on Monday January 23, and did exactly that. We listened and asked as many questions as we could during the meeting. Our first impression of the neighborhood house was very welcoming, and we felt that our efforts and enthusiasm were truly appreciated. They need a group that is excited and passionate about food and kids to come in and have fun. To teach them, and to demonstrate cool food science experiments to the kids. We were advised not to waste any food, keep the kids busy, and to bring forth activities the kids haven‚Äôt done before in order to maximize what they get from the program we will soon put on! And we plan to do just that.

The Gordon Neighbourhood House also supports the strategy for asset-based community development. The neighbourhood house identifies and utilizes assets in the community like its space, gardens and donations to support and give back to the community that it is located in. It uses a needs-based approach to community development (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003) where the communities needs are met by using the assets from the individuals in the community. The Gordon Neighbourhood House also uses program-based solutions to support individuals in the community that live in; lower income housing, are single parents, or are lonely younger individuals that live in high density housing. The Gordon House provides after school care for children  and events where young people can come together and build communityconnect and all of it activities at low or no cost for those of lower income. All these qualities support those of asset-based community development.

Our objective for this project is to to promote food literacy in children by engaging them in food science, introducing new foods and new techniques as well as providing them with take home recipes that they can try on their own. We are also hoping to study and observe how these food literacy skills could be used in their own homes to promote food security in the neighborhood, As a team we are hoping to use our passion for children and our desire to be a contribution to the Gordon Neighbourhood House. We hope you enjoy this reading this blog as you follow us through this new experience.

References:

Mathie, A., & Cunningham, G. (2003). From clients to citizens: Asset-based Community Development as a strategy for community-driven development. Development in Practice, 13(5), 474‚Äď486.

Food Literacy Centre. (2015). What is Food Literacy? Retrieved from http://www.foodliteracycenter.org/what-food-literacy

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