Here is this week’s pick for our “Good Food in Action” volunteer opportunity:
Organization/Program: Wellness in the Schools
Volunteer Opportunity: Volunteer cooking instructor in public school classrooms or volunteer cook in school cafeterias
Location: New York, New York
Start Date: Recruiting Now
Time Commitment: Flexible
Our mission is to inspire healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for kids in public schools. Through meaningful public/private partnerships with school leadership, teachers, chefs, coaches, parents and kids, Wellness in the Schools creates hands-on programs such as Cook for Kids, Green for Kids and Coach for Kids. These programs provide healthy foods, healthy environments and opportunities for regular play to help kids learn and grow.
The idea for WITS grew out of a common interest shared by a group of concerned New York City public school parents. In 2005, we united in the conviction that healthier bodies make healthier minds, and that, conversely, unhealthy school environments interfere with student health, school attendance and academic achievement. Our goal is simple: we want our children to have the best possible environment in which to learn.
Cook for Kids Program Overview:
In partnership with the New York City Department of Education’s Office of SchoolFood, Wellness in the Schools operates the Cook for Kids program in NYC public school kitchens and classrooms. In an effort to combat childhood obesity and to promote healthy eating, WITS works to prepare fresh meals from scratch and to educate families about the importance of eating whole, unprocessed foods. In order to accomplish this goal, WITS places culinary school graduates in schools. Inspired by the model of Teach for America, the program that trains talented college graduates to teach in public schools, WITS invests in graduates of culinary schools to Cook for Kids in public schools. Our carefully recruited and well-trained Cook for Kids WITS in Resident cooks work alongside cafeteria workers to train, inspire, and support their preparation of salad bars and fresh homemade meals. In selected schools, the cooks also conduct seasonal cooking classes and offer regular demonstrations to teach children, parents and teachers how to cook delicious, nutritious and inexpensive recipes, using fresh local ingredients wherever possible. Sponsoring NYC restaurants offer consultation and promotional support.
Cook for Kids begins locally, addressing the needs of a local community, a single school and the children and families it serves. We employ local chefs in the process. Additionally, we respond to the need nationwide to develop programs in local communities based on their individual needs.