The Children’s Nutrition program got a fresh start this year since MPI and Alinambi (last year’s nutrition school) decided to discontinue their program. This turned out to be a great thing as with the help of an influential community member we were able to make a new connection with a great school in Santa Isabel. The teachers at Chuapitena (the new school) welcomed Emily and Taylor with open arms, giving them a full load of five classes to teach each week!
In addition to teaching classes about the food pyramid, food cycle, food safety, and nutrition-related diseases, Emily and Taylor also include some basic English vocab into their lessons. They have been meeting weekly with a few of the teachers from Chuapitena to give them a preview of that week’s lesson and offer them an opportunity to ask nutrition and health-related questions. They also have plans to do a cultural exchange of recipes with the women, one week cooking a healthy recipe from the US and the next week a traditional Ecuadorian dish. This relationship with Chuapitena has brought many new regulars to the library and teen center, as well as new students to our English classes.
Emily and Taylor have also made some great changes to the Cooking program, transforming Saturday’s cooking class into a combined adult nutrition charla and healthy cooking lesson. Each class is about two hours long, beginning with a health discussion and followed by the preparation of a recipe that relates to the discussion topic of the day. All of the class participants help to prepare the food, and take home a copy of the recipe to use with their families. They changed the time of cooking class so that it occurs after Adult English on Saturday, giving our English students a chance to participate. Attendance has been increasing each week as more and more English students stay after to help out, and 10th graders from Chuapitena join the class to learn more about the cooking aspect of nutrition. All of these changes have been very beneficial to MPI and to the community we serve. Thanks Emily and Taylor, keep up the good work!