The day came and went, and despite my worst fears and extreme anxieties, it couldn’t have gone any better. I have a tendency to be rather self-deprecating when I get stressed out, and let me tell you the millions of negative thoughts that when through my mind before Friday.
Luckily, and as it usually goes, none of it came true. I got raving reviews, and could actually see the positive influence I had on the children and adults.
If you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about, let me fill you in. I was asked to host a nutritional education workshop at a school in the South Bronx school about a month or so ago. I had the opportunity to teach kindergartners and their parents easy, healthy recipes, basic introductory knife skills (plastic knives), and even introduce the kids to new fruit. After the cooking session, I was able to have a sit down forum with the parents. I taught them how to read nutrition labels, ingredient lists, and how to navigate the grocery store. I worked to put together (thank you so much Avery, for all your help designing!) about 7 different hand outs with all the information I covered, and 1 or 2 reference sheets for the parents to keep in their wallets.
I was pleasantly surprised by how engaged the children and parents were with my information. At one point a student exclaimed “I am a good chef! I love to cook now!”… and well, cooking with the kids was the easiest part for me. I was definitely the most nervous about the parent forum. I think my main concerns stemmed from the fact that I was not sure how receptive they would be to me and my information. I have visions of them yawning, disengaged, and just falt out uninterested. But, when I had the chance to sit down with them without the kids, my confidence really soared…the information just flowed, and all of my concerns melted away. I could see in their facial expressions that the knowledge I was sharing was not being received lightly, which was a good thing. Eyes widened and mouths dropped. We laughed, shared personal antidotes, got mad, and enlightened.. as a group. There were gasps, “wows”, and plenty of people in awe consistently throughout the session. It’s just further proof to what I truly believe, that education is the key to eradicating our nation’s health epidemic.
I can say that without a doubt these parents will never look at a packaged food, let alone the label, the same ever again. They all left thanking my furiously, and with the intention to contact me with questions that they may think of, and for additional information that I had promised.
Apparently, my presence was felt far beyond the classroom I was in because there was quite a buzz going around school. Before I left, the principal contacted the teacher of the classroom I was invited to. She wanted my availability for future visits because she would like to fund my little project and get me into “every classroom” in the school.
I can’t explain the pure joy I felt that day, and in these proceeding days really. I’ve had the opportunity to actually act on the dreams that I have been working towards, and this is the first step of many in becoming a nutritional educator. I have had the opportunity to actually test out the knowledge I have been accumulating, and I couldn’t have dreamt a better response. If my first shot at spearheading this expenditure was so successful, I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
If you have any questions, or would like more information about the information I discussed that day, please feel free to contact me! I would love to share!