- Author: Evelyn Morales
During my time at UC CalFresh, I was exposed to a stimulating variety of opportunities. I taught classes ranging from pre-kindergarten to adults, all of which I really enjoyed! I loved watching the kids eager to learn about MyPlate and physical activity and the adults asking questions on how to make their families healthier. I was also extremely impressed by the UC CalFresh staff; their passion for nutrition and health education radiated inside and out of the classrooms.
These pictures are from a few of the classes I taught at Bailey Elementary in Firebaugh. The kindergarteners in the picture above loved learning about fruits and vegetables. I read them a book about buying different fruits and vegetables at the market and then we played the Colors of the Rainbow game where they put their assigned fruit on the rainbow according to its color.
The picture below is from a second grade class at Bailey Elementary. We had a fun, interactive lesson where I taught them about different vegetables and then we played the Mystery Vegetable game after.
I was also able to co-teach and conduct food demonstrations at two classes for the Jobs and Beyond program. These individuals all had families to take care of and were truly invested in the lessons. I was encouraged by how many questions they all had and I was eager to answer them all. We discussed how to save time and money when cooking healthy meals for their families.
The pictures below are from my moringa project. I created two different smoothie recipes that contained moringa, then the staff taste tested and provided feedback on their favorite version. This was a really fun project and forced me to get creative with the recipes. I have never created a recipe from scratch, so this was a great learning opportunity for me!
Overall, I had a very pleasant experience during my two weeks at UC Cooperative Extension with the CalFresh program. This rotation forced me to go outside of my comfort zone, and I ended up enjoying everything I did! These last two weeks have exposed me to the importance of community nutrition and have left me with an eager drive to potentially work in community nutrition once I become a registered dietitian. Thank you to all of the staff who warmly welcomed me into their office and for showing me how health educators can make a huge difference in the community.
- Author: Evelyn Morales
Over the last two weeks at UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, I learned fun and innovative ways to provide nutrition education to children and adults. The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program helps families, adults, and children by teaching nutrition lessons at schools and community events. During my time interning at UC CalFresh, I had the opportunity to learn about the program through teaching children nutrition classes.
On my first day, I was introduced to the staff and was given a tour of the facility. I knew very little about UC CalFresh; so, it was good to learn about an organization that teaches nutrition education to the local community. I was told that I would be teaching the following day at Roeding Elementry school for youth lessons. I was a bit nervous because I had very little experience working with young children; but after watching the staff educator Nora teach Pre-K, kindergarten, and 5th-grade classes; I was able to get the groove of things and quickly picked up on some of her teaching strategies and classroom management techniques.
The following day I traveled to Bailey Elementary in Firebaugh to teach preschoolers about MyPlate and Potter the Otter. I was astonished by the students' ability to remember the MyPlate model and the key messages provided during the lesson. When reviewing MyPlate we helped the students associate certain foods with specific food groups. For example, we would point to the grains group and ask the students the color, the name of the group, foods found within the group, and the key message as to why it's are important. I was amazed by their knowledge of nutrition. Not only did they know the foods within the groups, they understood the key messages associated with the different food groups. Awesome!
For the second half of the lesson, I read the book Potter the Otter Goes to Market. This book talked about the importance of eating healthy with friends and family. The students loved the story and I made sure to engage the children by encouraging participation and answering questions about the book.
The following week I taught youh classes at many different sites in Fresno. I also participated in a Moringa project, where I created overnight oats and spiced morning oatmeal. These two breakfast entrees were infused with moringa and taste tested on my last day. I found the overnight oats recipe to be my favorite.
I also created a UC CalFresh Nutrition Corner poster board that emphasized the importance of whole grains and physical activity. The Nutrition Corner poster board will be used at a school site for nutrition outreach.
I would like to thank UC CalFresh Nutrition Program for this opportunity. I had not had much experience with children prior to this rotation so I felt that it was beneficial to me as a future registered dietitian. I had the opportunity to visit different school sites while teaching nutrition education to various age groups throughout the week. This rotation helped me to step out of my comfort zone and I truly felt that I was teaching the kids the importance of nutrition. I am grateful for this unique rotation and to be able to work with students in the classroom; it has made me more confident in working with this age group. This rotation has shown me the impact that community nutrition can make. Thank you!
- 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.
During my short two weeks at UCCE, I had the privilege of meeting passionate individuals who gave 200% of their efforts to teach adult and children about the importance of living a healthy well-rounded life. The staff was friendly, and they created a great learning environment for me.
I had the privilege of being part of the first poster party. Through this event, I learned that children enjoy creating projects that can be displayed in a communal area such as the cafeteria. I needed a serving of fruits and vegetables to regain my energy after that party! The children and I had a blast.
Helping a Rowell student choose his favorite fruit
I was also tasked with creating a Nutrition Corner. My goal for this assignment was to create a poster that was easy to understand for any age group. I wanted it to be colorful, and I wanted it to have few words. This assignment helped bring out the little creativity I have.
"Vary Your Vegetables" Nutrition Corner
My favorite part of this rotation was going to Vinland Elementary and teaching the little minds about the importance of protein and exercise. They were so excited to learn about the different types of protein and how physical activity helps build muscles. This event was very fun, but also a bit of a challenge. I learned that children need to be engaged in a fun visual activity or else they will focus their attention elsewhere. Thankfully I had Chris by my side to help me regain the children's attention. If the children lost focus, we would have them do quick fun exercises.
Doing fun exercises with Vinland students
On my last day at UCCE, I worked alongside Lorena, a Small Farms and Specialty Crop advisor, to conduct a taste test with a special leaf named moringa. Lorena is currently working with small farmers to bring moringa awareness to the public. This ancient leaf is packed with protein and other vitamins and minerals. This assignment was by far the most challenging part of the rotation. I was tasked with creating an original recipe that would incorporate moringa. Previously, I had never heard of moringa, and I did not know about its health benefits. I was not sure what it paired well with or how it tasted. So I put on my chef-thinking hat, and I created a recipe that looked appealing, and I chose to use ingredients that would mask the bitter taste of moringa. I created a modified version of moringa pesto pasta. The recipe came out yummmyyy!
Moringa pesto pasta recipe ready to be tasted
This rotation allowed me to experience the extensive preparation that is required to conduct a nutrition class. Not only does the educator have to know about the lesson they are going to teach, they also have to be prepared to answer questions and address many nutrition myths. Even though it takes a lot of preparation to teach these nutrition courses, they are very rewarding. Every class I observed I learned something new. The adults are looking for practical tips that will help them save time and money. The children are looking for interactive activities that are visually appealing and that allow them to use their motor skills. I will be able to use the tips I learned at UCCE CalFresh when I am providing nutrition education to future patient/clients.
- Author: Evelyn Morales
During my rotation at University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, I had a great time and learned about fun and engaging ways to provide nutrition education to children and adults. I like what this program does for our community since nutrition education is essential to living a healthy life and prevent many diet-related diseases.
During my first week, I had the opportunity to create a Nutrition Corner for children about whole grains and write a blog about healthy treats for children on Halloween. I learned that using straightforward terms, pictures that represent the audience, and colorful and attractive items are a must on these projects to attract readers and accomplish the purpose of creating those tools.
That week I also got to attend the Walk to School Day in Madera. An event like this takes time and communication to coordinate. Public authorities, schools, and Public Health Department of Madera worked together with UC CalFresh to make this event remarkably fun for children while promoting physical activity. I helped the team organize the games and encourage children to be more active. I also learned that as nutrition and health educator, my job is to care about my community and maintain their health in all aspects, and part of that was helping children to cross the streets safely.
Teaching children from different grades, from Pre-K to 4th grade, and participating in two adult classes were amazing experiences during my second week. During college, I mostly worked with the adult population, but working with children is quite different. I did not know how to present nutrition information to children, especially younger ones because they get bored or easily distracted. I learned by observing nutrition educators, Carissa and Mishelle. I realized that working with children is really fun. One has to be very creative to teach the nutrition information in a simple, but engaging and enjoyable way. I was amazed at the number of teaching tools that UC CalFresh has, like interactive posters to food models, which are very helpful to share your message. Also, I discovered that being very specific with instructions is vital when working with children since all of them are very energetic and want to participate in all activities.
Finally, on my last day, I got to teach a MyPlate nutrition lesson on my own to Hispanic adults. My knowledge, experience, and background helped me to successfully communicate and teach the lesson. I felt great when some of the adults thanked me and told me that they had learned a lot, and were enthusiastic about applying that information to eat healthier.
Providing nutrition education to members of my community has been one of the most rewarding experiences as an intern. Knowing that children are receiving nutrition education so early in life, as well as teaching about health and nutrition to parents makes me realized the importance of programs like UC CalFresh. With their fantastic work, Nutrition Educators are making sure that the diets of the whole family are improved to maintain health by eating healthy.
- Author: Chelsea Hayes
- Editor: Emily Harris
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 the past two weeks, I had the pleasure of interning with the University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in Fresno and Madera Counties. On the first day of my rotation, I was impressed to see such an expansive library of diverse educational resources during a tour of the building. These resources spanned many topics, from nutrition, physical activity and hydration to sleep and food safety. It was immediately clear to me that the individuals who worked for this program were a truly passionate, invested team with a genuine goal to provide the most engaging and useful health tools to all age groups in the community. Throughout my entire rotation with UC CalFresh, I frequently thought to myself—All communities need a program like this!
I had an exceptionally fun time being involved in an array of experiences with UC CalFresh. For example, I had the opportunity to teach nutrition and physical activity lessons to elementary school students and adults. I admit that I was a little nervous to be back in the community setting, teaching larger groups again, since I had spent a majority of my dietetic internship in the clinical setting, mainly working one-on-one with individuals. However, the UC CalFresh staff set me up for success by giving me class tools that were specifically designed to deliver key messages to target populations in the most effective, efficient manner possible.
For the elementary school lessons, I used books, songs with body motions, playful games and stuffed produce characters to teach students about MyPlate and physical activity. One exciting physical activity game we played with second grade students was called, “Deal or No Deal.” This was an exercise spin-off of the popular game show with the same name. Another exciting activity we did with the students was read a book to them called, Handa's Surprise, that introduced the students to a variety of fruits and animals. To go along with the book, the UC CalFresh staff made a fun game emphasizing children's memory skills to recall which fruits and animals were paired in the book. The students and I loved doing these activities together – we shared many laughs while simultaneously learning a great deal.
For the adult lessons, I used engaging activities, laminated poster boards, interactive handouts, measuring spoons and science models to deliver MyPlate concepts. One fun flavor activity I did with the adult class involved smelling different, unlabeled spices and guessing which spice it was.
Aside from all of these amazing teaching experiences, I was also fortunate to complete a few behind-the-scenes projects. I created a Nutrition Corner intended for display in a cafeteria to support the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement. "Fruits and Vegetables" was the theme of my board because I am passionate about encouraging youth to eat more produce, which offers a wide variety of nutrients and health benefits. I was surprised by how much this project challenged me to tap into my creativity and step into a child's perspective. Completing this seemingly simple task took longer than I expected, which gave me a whole new appreciation for educators.
Lastly, I cannot forget Farm and Nutrition Day! On the final day of my rotation, some of the UC CalFresh staff and I dressed up in produce costumes for an entertaining MyPlate and physical activity play. As part of the play, we performed a catchy exercise song and dance with all the students. I had a blast running around in a corn costume, dancing and singing with all the kiddos.
Overall, I learned that the UC CalFresh staff are not just talented educators; they are artists, dancers, singers, improvisers, team mates, professionals, and passionate nutrition and exercise enthusiasts. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the plethora of valuable experiences that the UC CalFresh staff and their participants gave me during my short, but extremely rewarding, two-week rotation. Thank you for allowing me to work on my teaching and creativity skills. Keep up the great work, UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program!