- 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.
- 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.
When I first arrived at UCCE I observed a new teacher practice session in the conference room. Everyone pretended to be first graders as a new employee read a book and taught the MyPlate introduction. They gave her tips at the end of her lesson on ways to be more effective. I thought it was a great way to offer constructive criticism and ensure that new employees are getting the hang of things.
On Wednesday, I traveled with Tacu to Jobs and Beyond and observed a nutrition class and cooking demo. Tacu is an excellent presenter and I really enjoyed watching him teach! He did a great job of encouraging the class to participate and be active in what they were learning. At the end, he made a veggie quesadilla for everyone to try and it tasted great! I got to teach the PA lesson at the end.
On Thursday, I traveled with Evelyn and Ruth to Firebaugh to observe and help teach K-2nd grade classes. Evelyn is a great educator and makes learning so fun for the kids! I co-taught a kindergarten class with Ruth and we introduced the MyPlate to the kids and did a MyPlate puzzle activity where the kids got to actively participate in creating the MyPlate. It was a ton of fun. I also got to help with a lesson that used a very large MyPlate mat.
On Friday, I traveled to Jobs and Beyond again and observed Austin and Sergio teach a nutrition lesson and do a cooking demo of an apple chicken salad. I led the spice activity and it was such a blast having everyone guess what they thought the spices were! Later in the day I completed my Nutrition Corner poster.
My completed Nutrition Corner on Food Safety
This week has been very fun. I spent the whole day with Chris on Tuesday teaching nutrition classes at Viking Elementary. I led a few different activities including food bingo for the special ed class. In the middle of the lesson, a student found a beetle on the floor and it caused a scene. Turns out, the teacher is a master gardener and happened to have two Venus fly trap plants in the classroom. She kept the beetle to feed to the plant!
The venus fly trap plant!
Most of Wednesday was spent with Mishelle at Hamilton Elementary teaching pre-K up to 4th grade.
Teacher Mishelle talking to the kiddos about My Plate!
On Thursday I helped Nora and Yolanda at the Turkey Trot for Hamilton Elementary school. We passed out mango & mint infused water and had props on display to show students and parents how much sugar is in soda and other drinks. It was so much fun!
Ready to serve kids infused water!
The biggest thing that I've learned so far from UCCE is how easy and fun teaching children can be. The kids classes are such a blast and I really love how high energy they are. I often get nervous public speaking or doing education lessons, but I haven't been nervous with the kids at all.
I've also been surprised at how quickly children pick up and retain information. Chris and I went into a classroom that he had taught once the previous year. The children remembered almost everything with just a little prompting! I was so impressed.
Overall this has been a great two weeks going out to the community and teaching nutrition. I've been reminded how vital nutrition education is and why it is needed so badly in the community. Thanks UCCE for having me!
- Author: Evelyn Morales
UC CalFresh has an immense impact on the well being of local communities and is a valuable resource to in the Central Valley of California. My two week rotation offered many hands-on learning experiences that deepened my appreciation for and enhanced my skill set in nutrition education. All UC CalFresh staff members were incredibly friendly and their passion and enthusiasm when teaching at different facilities was inspiring. The impact they are making on their audience was apparent and it was wonderful to be part of it.
One of the classes I got to teach was a Jobs and Beyond class for adults. The curriculum focuses on educating participants on skill sets that can aid them in their personal and professional life. It was interesting to interact and listen to the participants' input. It allowed me to have a better understanding of their situation and how to keep the material relevant to them. At the end of the class, they were very appreciative of our time spent with them. It felt fulfilling knowing that we had made a positive impact on them.
Prior to this rotation, I had limited experience educating small children. However, the fun and engaging lesson materials provided by UC CalFresh made it easy to adapt and teach to various grade levels. The fun songs used by the staff are perfect to educate young children about the importance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and dairy in their diet. We also had a lot of fun playing games that encouraged physical activity. With lots of giggles and laughter, the kids got to learn about the importance of a healthy diet in their lives.
When not traveling to different school or community sites to provide education, there is plenty of opportunity for creativity at UC CalFresh. I created a poster board with the key message of “All Vegetables Come From Plants” to help educate children about where our vegetables come from and to better understand the anatomy of plants. The poster board will be displayed at a local school site.
My favorite experience was a Jog-a-thon event at a local elementary school. I love being silly, so when I found out I get to dress up as a strawberry and exercise with the kids I was immediately got excited. As you could imagine, a running strawberry was very entertaining for the kids and motivated them to keep going. There is nothing better than having fun while promoting healthier lifestyle choices and at UC CalFresh that is the focus!