Cooking Club Inspires Student Leaders

Posted 02/16/2016 | By HealthCorps

 

Carlos-Hernandez

Student Carlos Hernandez

 

Rancho Mirage High School, Rancho Mirage, CA – Carlos

Funder: Desert HealthCare District

Through volunteering at the James Workman Middle School Cooking Club, Rancho Mirage CAFÉ Academy students have promoted healthy eating in their community and grown as student leaders. Specifically, student Carlos Hernandez a CAFÉ Academy junior.

“This experience gave me the opportunity to interact with kids and open the door to more opportunities for them. I learned more about the food, and I can express myself more with food than on paper. For example, I learned that eating breakfast gives you energy and is more nutritious than not eating it,” said Carlos.

The James Workman Middle School Cooking Club is a joint program led by the RMHS CAFÉ Academy and its feeder middle school. It serves as a platform for the academy to recruit more students and for HealthCorps to spread its message about healthy eating to the surrounding community.

Madelyn Perez, HealthCorps Coordinator at Rancho Mirage High School had this to say, “Once a month, I facilitate cooking club sessions with a small group of CAFÉ student leaders at JWMS. This project began in November 2014, and Carlos became a more consistent collaborator in the following spring. While the JWMS Cooking Club has been a wonderful community outreach opportunity, it has also been a great leadership experience for the participating CAFÉ students.”

Madelyn says last year the club attracted some rowdy participants. Carlos (and other CAFÉ leaders), however, were resilient and dedicated to making each session successful. Throughout the semester, Carlos grew as a leader. He learned to add his own input and became more confident in his expertise. This year, the first session was held in the month of October, and Carlos was one of the first volunteers to sign-up.

Due to time constraints, Madelyn was unable to prepare the leaders for this first session. In spite of this, Carlos led his group with ease. Before Madelyn knew it, Carlos and his group were already munching on their final product. As a result of the JWMS Cooking Club, Carlos and his peers have grown into leaders and have come to embrace the Cooking Club as a leadership opportunity.

“At the beginning of the project, I thought it would be easy and that there would be no bumps along the way. When I got there, everything changed and I started second-guessing why I was there. When the kids settled down, I used my expertise about food to communicate with them. If I could do this with other programs and other kids, I will. This is one of the most funs things I could do. I would encourage other kids to do this and learn about and try new things.” said Carlos Hernandez.

Madelyn Perez was recently nominated at a HealthCorps Coordinator of the Month! Read her profile here. 

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