- 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: Nancy R. Zumkeller
First harvest is always an exciting time when gardening, but this first harvest proved to be extra special for a group of women and their children at Fresno Rescue Mission's Rescue the Children residential treatment program. RTC is a protected, secure environment that provides emergency and long-term services to at-risk, abused, homeless, or previously incarcerated women or women with children. UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program Fresno has been providing nutrition education to Rescue the Children for over five years and now garden education and support has been added to that collaboration. A conversation in a nutrition education class about the importance of fruits and vegetables led to the residents' expressing interest in gardening and asking how to grow your own vegetables. The UC CalFresh Garden Team leapt into action to collaborate with RTC residents to plan and implement a sustainable garden. This 12-18 month residential program for women and women with children continually receives new residents, but they all have the opportunity to learn and work in the garden and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The women's prior experience with gardening was varied. Some shared fond memories of working in a garden with their grandparents or parents when they were children. Most had minimal experience but all were eager and willing to learn and work. UC CalFresh provided support through garden and nutrition education, seeds, seedlings and various garden supplies and tools. UC Master Gardener's were invited to collaborate. They were introduced to the women of RTC and provided weekly garden education classes ranging in topics from basic gardening, irrigation, maintenance and composting. A Master Gardener even donated several gardening books to the RTC library for the residents to refer to for guidance and research including a copy of the California Master Gardener Handbook, which is considered the definitive guide to best practices and advice for gardeners throughout the West.
The facility had ample space for a garden, but there was still lots of work to do such as clearing weeds, un-stacking the raised garden beds that had been empty for a long time, and understanding how to work the existing drip irrigation system that had not been utilized to its full capabilities. Finally, in September 2017 the garden was planted. Radishes, spinach, potatoes, carrots, and squash were some of the vegetables that were planted. Cilantro and rosemary was also planted in the garden beds. Although some beds produced more than others, all the residents enjoyed sharing this experience with each other as well as with their children. “I loved coming out here in the evening with my son to pull weeds and check on the garden. It's so peaceful out here,” stated one of the residents. Another resident compared growing a garden to nurturing a child. She stated you care for and love your child by tending to their needs the same way you would for the plants in the garden.
Learning all about drip irrigation from a Master Gardener
Planted and labeled!
The farm to table movement has definitely become a part of Rescue the Children's resident's daily lives. In addition to the garden, a composting area has been maintained with the community kitchen scraps. Learning about composting has been practical and useful. Many women stated they had never realized how kitchen scraps could be beneficial to a garden. The first harvest in November provided many delicious vegetables that the kitchen staff used in preparation for the Thanksgiving meal. Everything harvested from the garden is used in the community kitchen for all to enjoy. This hands-on learning experience has impacted not only over 35 adult residents of RTC but over 20 school-aged children as well. The hard work and rewards of the garden are providing a valuable experience for everyone. The lessons on nutrition and gardening will be remembered long after the women have graduated from RTC. They have acquired the necessary skills and knowledge to maintain a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their families.
Composting bins ready for kitchen scraps!/span>
- 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: Christopher Deleon
Community centers provide learning opportunities and resources for local residents. They provide spaces for community members to become more involved in their community, their neighborhoods, and themselves. This summer the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program collaborated with the Holistic Cultural & Education Wellness Center to provide nutrition education classes to community members in the area. The Holistic Cultural & Education Wellness Center provides community members with a wide variety of services to encourage a well-balanced lifestyle.
UC CalFresh provides nutrition education classes in both Spanish and English. Participants feel the classes help them make healthier decisions for themselves and their families.
Participants learn the importance of fruits and vegetables, planning meals to save money; and limiting salt, sugar and fat intake.
Participants also learn the importance of physical activity and strength training.
UC CalFresh had a great time collaborating with the center and providing lessons to families!
- Author: Evelyn Morales
- Editor: Emily Harris
Students and Parents learn how to have
"Fun with Fitness"
Once again, UC CalFresh partnered with the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research to provide nutrition education to 7th and 8th-grade students who are on track to become medical professionals, and their families, at the Spring 2017 Health Education and Leadership Conference, held on Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at Sunnyside High School.
---Be Active Your Way---
In this year's workshop, parents were encouraged to make time for physical activity. Topics covered the health benefits of being physically active for ourselves and for our families. Participants learned the difference between aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening exercise, and the amount of physical activity we need, from kids to adults. There were plenty of opportunities to participate in physical activity throughout the class.
Parents review MyPlate at the start of the workshop.
Aerobic activity of the day: Jumping Jacks
---What's My Pulse?---
Students learned about the importance of physical activity by measuring their pulse throughout various types of exercises.
Students measure their pulse before doing any activities to find out their resting pulse.
After marching in place for 1 minute, students measure their pulse again to see if there were any changes.
Students learn that their pulse increases while stretching.
Students complete 25 jumping jacks to measure their aerobic activity.
Students strengthen their arm muscles with desk push-ups.
Breathing exercises help everyone cool down.
---Making Better Choices---
Living a healthy life might seem challenging, but a great way to start yourself on the right path is to focus on making better choices, one-at-a-time. Participants were able to taste some healthy choices they could also make at home. They were encouraged to make better beverage choices and drink more water.
Participants were able to try three different types of infused water: lemon-ginger, strawberry-basil, and blueberry-mint. An energy snack sample was also handed out to show how easy it could be to make a healthy snack.
Students and parents try out their infused water and energy snack.
---Shaping Healthy Families---
UC CalFresh educators enjoyed being able to reach out to both students and parents during this workshop. Parents left with more information on how to make healthy choices for their families, and students left with a better understanding of why being physically active is so important.