My name is Katherine Globerson and I am a Washington Service Corps Food Educator with Common Threads Farm in Bellingham. As part of my service, for the past six weeks we have been running an after-school cooking club program to further engage K-5 students in the joys of cooking and making healthy choices.
The students at Sunnyland Elementary are always delighted to find that veggie spring rolls, fruit and yogurt crepes, and green smoothies are both delicious and packed with nutrients. As students take part by grating carrots, measuring oil, or whisking eggs, they come to see cooking as a feast for the senses, a joyful way to spend time with friends and an equalizing ground. Not to mention the reward of sampling the recipe at the end of the club, reinforcing the joy of transforming many ingredients into a tasty creation.
“The enthusiasm, openness and adventuresome spirit of young people is perhaps one of the most effective tools we have for making lasting change towards healthier futures for whole families.”
While I can see their delight when we’re together during the club, it has been that much more impactful hearing from families about the ways our after-school club has changed their relationship to cooking at home. A couple of weeks back, one student’s mother approached me at the end of the club to let me know that her son, Kevin, has always been a picky eater but has been bringing cooking club recipes home for their family to make. Another student’s parents emailed to let me know that they have a special place for cooking club recipes, as the spring rolls had become a family favorite. Skylar’s mom reported that Skylar loves to make the green smoothie at home, though prefers to add extra spinach!
Hearing these stories about the ways cooking club reaches past the school day reminds me of the power of young people to transform their communities. The enthusiasm, openness and adventuresome spirit of young people is perhaps one of the most effective tools we have for making lasting change towards healthier futures for whole families. Seeing this powerful ripple effect fuels me and reminds me of the reasons I chose to do an Americorps service year with Common Threads.
Since the beginning of the program year in September, Common Threads’ AmeriCorps team has provided nutrition education to over 7,000 children and youth in Whatcom County.