NC State student chronicles OFL class of parents and kids

The following is a Blog from NCSU student Holly Starks. It is the first in a series of 5 Blogs she will be writing chronicling her experience as a Nutrition Instructor for a OFL Class she is Teaching. Holly is teaching OFL as part of a Service Learning Class that has teamed up North Carolina State Students with the Inter Faith Food Shuttle’s  OFL/Nutrition Program.  Through this partnership the IFFS and NCSU hope to engage students in service learning and community nutrition while expanding the reach of its OFL program. My name is Holly Starks and I will be writing the Blog for the OFL Side by Side class that is held at the Crosby Head Start Center on Tuesdays. The class consists of parent and child pairs and is taught by me and three other NC State students: Sara Bell the chef, Salena Wright the class manager, and Avram Adelman the gardener (I instruct the nutrition lesson). The four of us have come together through a service-learning class offered at NC State and we are all excited to be able to share our knowledge of nutrition, cooking, and gardening in order to help families learn how to eat healthier together. For our first lesson we focused on the importance of eating healthy meals with the family. As a class, we discussed the parts of the food pyramid and how it is important to eat from each food group every day. Together, the mothers and their children were able to help prepare and enjoy eating “Hearty Egg Burritos” and fruit salad.

It was evident from the start that as a class, we all share different backgrounds and experiences that will add dimension and depth to our time together. As Sara expressed, “I thought it was really neat when Petra showed everyone how to cut a papaya. It shows that we all have things to learn from one another.” The class watched carefully as Petra cut the papaya down the middle and removed the seeds from the inside. The class was excited as many noted that they had never cut papaya before. As Petra cut up the papaya, other parents helped to cut up fruits and vegetables for the meal. Along with cutting, the families were able to learn basic knife rules, cooking skills, and how to properly wash their hands. Though the first lesson consisted of covering basic skills that we need to build off of for our future lessons, we could tell that the class was excited about learning how to cook healthy, affordable meals with their kids. The families are also looking forward to learning how to grow their own herbs and gardens.

When asked why this class is important to her, Sara replied,

“It's important to me because I think it's important to "share my strength" by giving others information and teaching them about what I have had the opportunity to learn in school. Not everyone gets to attend college, but for those of us who are lucky enough to have a college education it is important to share that with other people in the community. This helps the community grow and become more unified, regardless of all the differences among community members.”

We are all looking forward to the next five weeks as we will get to know these families and teach them about healthy eating, cooking, and gardening. Check in next week to see what new and fun things the class will learn about and be able to create!