I am a Change Agent at Shanty Bay Public School. Last year I started a project when I was in Grade 4. My project is on Healthy Eating Habits. I chose this topic because it is very important in my family and we talk about it all the time. We have lots of unhealthy choices available to us in our grocery stores. Childhood and adult obesity are a big problem.
Over the winter, I did a cooking seminar with the Simcoe County District Health Unit. This program trained me to prepare for and run cooking classes. I decided to hold cooking classes for the Grade 2/ 3 and the Grade 3/ 4. In each class, we made Chocolate Coconut Chia Pudding and Moroccan Couscous. They were both very yummy and all the kids loved them!! Everyone left with those recipes so they could make them at home for their families.
The immediate impact of my project has mostly been at my local school. I’ve reached three grades through my cooking classes. Other classes are super keen to do my cooking classes as well. This year I plan to do a cooking class in every classroom! The feedback has been very positive. Primary and elementary students are very interested in healthy eating!
Personally, I’m even more interested in cooking, not just baking. I eat fairly healthy already but now I think about how my eating may affect me throughout my life as well. I think twice now about the “less healthy” treats I sometimes choose and how they make me feel.
It’s great to be enthusiastic about something and to want to share it, to bring about change.
It was a challenge to figure out what yummy recipes to use for the cooking classes. I limited the recipes to two for the classes and chose ones that were easy on my budget, not too complicated to make at school (or at home) and that were obviously healthy but still tasty for kids. I also had to figure out the amounts of all the ingredients for each recipe for the number of people in each cooking class and the approximate cost of the cooking supplies.
I made connections with the Simcoe County District Health Unit through public health nurse, Linda Quennell Linda runs the You’re the Chef Program, teaching local people how to hold cooking classes.
I also met a lead volunteer from Fruit Share/Urban Pantry Barrie, Jenna Zardo. This group organizes volunteers to pick fruit harvest from local homeowners and then shares it with local food banks, shelters and community kitchens. Jenna came to one of my cooking classes and wrote about me on her blog! https://www.urbanpantrybarrie.com/blog/meet-holly-a-healthy-food-champion
Co-creating a space where people feel that they can speak out in spite of their fears is a vital step in the process of learning how to become a changemaker. Empathy researcher Brene Brown explains that being empathetic requires that we be present and wholly engaged without our ‘protective armour’. People wear armour to try to become invisible or fit in with others to hide what they consider to be defects or embarrassing qualities for fear of being judged, labeled, or bullied. It is difficult to feel empathy for others when you are cut off from yourself.
For this reason, we’re starting the change closest to home. Everyone in the changemaking process needs to feel valued, seen, and heard. Because of the culture we inherited and the way our brains work, all of us carry biases. This isn’t wrong or bad, it’s what we do with them that matters. Being humbled can lead to personal transformation.
The exercises below will help you to:
Once the principles of the safe space have been defined and agreed upon by all, they can be used, reinforced, and referred back to as needed throughout the time you share together.
Design Thinking & the Deskless Classroom(Exercise, Time will vary)
Create a Classroom Contract(30-45 minutes)
Learn how to listen: Are you a good listener? (video 5 min + opportunities for deeper thinking)
Empathy & Equity: From the Stanford D.school, this exercise gives designers to an opportunity to pause and notice their biases(15 min daily over the course of week).
Cross the Line: (30-60 min.) We live in a diverse world. In this exercise we will explore the diversity among us by thinking about our values, our backgrounds, our teachers, and our experiences.
CCDI: Explore Power and Privilege (Toolkit with various exercises)