- Author: Evelyn Morales
Fresno and Madera Counties' UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program has a long-standing partnership with the Fresno State Dietetic Internship Program. This blog post is part of our Intern Reflections Series.
Over my two weeks with UC Cal Fresh, I was able to observe many different teaching styles, lessons, and how to engage and respond to participants. Having the opportunity to travel to different schools and adult programs, including Ayer and Viking Elementary Schools, the VA Hospital, and Jobs and Beyond, gave me a better understanding of the populations that UC CalFresh serves. I was able to see how the lessons progress in what the children are taught from kindergarten through 5th grade and how much information they receive.
Cassie reads Potter the Otter to the an elementary class
The books used for the lessons were great. I was able to see that the kids really learn from them and enjoy listening. From all of the lessons and classes I observed in the elementary schools, the repetition of the lesson theme really kept the children engaged. I also really enjoyed teaching the class of 5th graders about MyPlate and playing breakfast bingo to discuss the importance of a healthy breakfast. Throughout my education, I have not had much opportunity to work with children, so this rotation has helped give me that experience. With the lessons I have observed, assisted with, and taught I have noticed that it can be challenging to keep the participants engaged and on task.
Teaching students about the importance of hand washing
In regard to the adult classes, I really learned how to address questions that I do not have an answer for and how some recommendations can be based on personal preferences. I really liked that with the adult classes, it is emphasized that they are learning recommendations and that it is up to them to choose what they listen to and practice in their life. This is something that I have learned about in school, and it was great to hear it talked about in classes. While assisting with the adult classes, I was able to help answer questions and this was fun because I didn't have much opportunity for this with the youth classes.
UC CalFresh coordinator Hannah and Cassie serve a radish, cilantro, and spinach tasting to a transitional kindergarten class - picked fresh from their own garden!
Finally, I really enjoyed being a part of the garden harvest and tasting event at Ayer Elementary. Because of this program, these children are being exposed to the opportunity to grow food and try what they have grown. That is such a great experience for these children. I have learned and realized how much education is done with UC Cal Fresh and how important this work is. So far in my internship, I have mainly been at community-based rotations, and I have found that I really enjoy community outreach and nutrition education. This rotation has made me realize that even more. These past two weeks have gone by too quickly, and I have enjoyed all of it.
- Author: Elizabeth Lopez
UC CalFresh launched the new and improved Eating Smart, Being Active nutrition classes in Madera county. The first stop was Virginia Lee Rose Elementary! To reach parents, UC CalFresh partnered with the Parent Resource Center. Parent Resource Centers are found at seven elementary schools within Madera Unified School District. Their goal is to provide resources that will help parents with their children's education while also encouraging parents to become involved in their children's school.
With the help of Parent Resource Center staff, UC CalFresh was able to host a nutrition series for Virginia Lee Rose parents from March to April. Parents who participated, learned proper knife skills, how to make meals healthy and be physically active, and so much more!
While some had experience following a recipe, for others, this was their first time following a recipe and measuring out ingredients. The five parents who participated in the class series expressed that they enjoyed the experience and the information learned.
- Author: Ashley Elisabeth Abrahamson
Sugary beverages are a sneaky source of excess sugar and calories. According to the CDC (2017), every day 63% of children and 49% of adults drink a sugar-sweetened beverage. Increasing awareness of how to identify and visualize amounts of sugar on a nutrition label can help people make healthier beverage choices.
On May 16th, UC CalFresh took part in the Champions for Change: Rethink Your Drink Day campaign. Nutrition educators Ashley Abrahamson and Nora Lopez set up an informational activity booth at UC Walks Day at the Garden of the Sun in Fresno. Their display included nutrition facts of common sugary beverages and bowls to measure the amount of sugar so that participants can truly see what the sugar content in their favorite drinks looks like. Participants were also encouraged to use the Beverage Breakdown website to see how much sugar they end up drinking throughout the entire day. To finish the event, participants were provided a sample of refreshing cucumber and mint water.
The Statewide Day of Action was conducted at over 308 sites, sharing valuable information that will encourage healthier choices across the state!
Are you ready to rethink your drink? Try the beverage breakdown here!
UC CalFresh Fresno/Madera County will also particpate in Champions for Change Statewide Day of Action: Healthy Snack Day on August 29th, 2018/span>
- Author: Ruth Salazar
UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program has continued its partnership with Madera's Community Action Partnership of Madera County Head Start by providing nutrition lessons. On May 7th the Madera UC CalFresh Team had the opportunity to present to Madera's Head Start teachers on how to utilize our Happy Healthy Me… Moving, Munching & Reading Around My Plate curriculum.
Elizabeth Lopez presenting at the training
This curriculum's goal is to have 4-6 years old children develop healthy eating and physically activity habits that will last a lifetime. At the training the staff demonstrated the many aspects that the curriculum has to offer such as physical activity games, nutrition activities, and arts and crafts that correlate with the specific lesson. After completing the training more than 50 teachers have been trained and enrolled on the curriculum. More than sixty children will benefit from this training through their teachers new skills in the curriculum.
Head Start teachers attending the training
Ruth and Elizabeth explaining the activities from Happy Healthy Me curriculum
- Author: Angelica Perez
Mrs. Roxie Schallberg quickly acknowledged that implementing the Lowe's garden grant required more than just a vision. After Madison Elementary received the grant money, there were steps to take with the district, school and maintenance staff to make this vision come to life.
To begin the garden project, Angelica Perez, UC CalFresh coordinator, supported Mrs. Roxie Schallberger in applying for the grant. Once the grant was awarded she was able to guide her in scheduling a meeting to help her in the initial steps to begin the grant implementation. In the meeting was Madison Principal Mercedes Ochoa, and Curtis Manganaan, Director of Maintenance and Operations for the district. They both played a key role in helping to identify barriers and solutions and how to bring together a new garden at the school site. As the meeting ended, all the information and next steps where identified and the garden vision was soon becoming a reality.
The garden beds were recommended to be built by Ripperdan Community Day School in Madera, CA. Students in Mr. Scanlan's wood shop class were tasked with building the wooden garden beds and benches for Madison. Maintenance staff are also much appreciated for the design of the garden location, leveling the ground, fencing off the area and in making the garden area nice and easy to use. Finally, the “We Believe in Healthy Living" Madison Mavericks garden sign came in after the beds and benches were in place. The garden is now ready to be fully used. Although the original plan for the Madison garden took a turn in the beginning planning changes, the new location and design was even better than the original plan.
The We Believe in Healthy Living Garden at Madison Elementary was a big team effort that created impactful connections with Mrs. Schallberger, Madison Staff, UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, Lowe's, Ripperdan Community Day School and the school district and maintenance staff. All of these collaborations and contributions make the Madison Mavericks We Believe in Healthy Living garden project even more special. The school looks forward to its official garden opening day next year and will plan to have lessons in the garden for all grade levels that wish to participate. Below are some pictures detailng the progress of the garden.