Today I attended the first NEED event at El Encino Church for the purpose of helping children to learn about the importance of nutrition and exercise. It was a wonderful experience working with Jia, Kia, Josh and the kids. We started off with an icebreaker where we separated the kids into two groups, having them hold hands while trying to squeeze their body through a hula-hoop. The kids filled their faces with smiles and excitement during the icebreaker so I knew it was a success. After the game we headed to the “cooking” demonstration room where Jia and I would show the kids how to make a delicious parfait. Jia did a wonderful job at teaching the kids about the health benefits in the parfait in a matter so even the smallest child understood. The children then helped themselves by making their own parfait using yogurt, bananas, apples, and cheerios. Many of the kids kept saying, “This is good!” We handed out the recipe for the parfait, rulers, and the “my plate” sheet to the children at the end. It would have probably been better if we premade little baggies with the papers instead, that way they wouldn’t have to carry all those papers in their hand. When the parents started to take their children away, it left a few children (mostly the older kids) to play our last game. The last game was a relay race containing two opponents kicking a soccer ball through the cones, followed by hula-hooping, jump-roping, then kicking the soccer ball through the cones again. The wind was inevitable so the jump rope would sometimes fly its own way. We should have probably had two separate jump ropes because two kids going at once was a bit of a struggle, considering they were on different rhythms. Overall, the first event was fun and the children seemed to enjoy it.
N.E.E.D inaugurated the new year by collaborating with El Encino Church to serve the community. Other organizations present were WIC (Women, Infant and Children), Healthy Smiles also donations from the community food bank and First Five were given out.
We worked with the kids. We began our program with a short ice breaker followed by a short “cooking” demonstration. At the demo we made a simple fruit parfait; the ingredients consisted of a Granny Smith apple, banana, low fat vanilla yogurt and Cheerios. I even worked food science into the demo by illustrating how to prevent oxidation of fruits by squeezing juice from an orange onto an slice of apple.
Then we encouraged the children to make their own parfait. The purpose of the demo was to get the children exposed to food, in this case it was yogurt, how to read a recipe and using tools such as measuring spoons.
Before the demo I surveyed the room, asking the kids how many has tried yogurt and only a few raised their hands. After trying it, the kids really enjoyed the yogurt and some even took the left over yogurt home! The experience proved to be meaningful and memorable for the kids and volunteers alike; we dialogue with the kids a more over eating snacking and some of the kids were really helpful with clean up too.
After the demo we went out to do a rely race. Good health also means getting up and moving. We challenged the kids to use their motor skills through activities like jump roping, hula hooping and weaving a soccer ball between cones.
The demo is not something N.E.E.D typically does, but in the future I want to invest in adding this component to the program. Kids are very receptive to food when given the chance to try it. In addition learning through seeing, doing, playing and eating is important to encouraging the kids to develop healthier eating habits throughout their life.
At Sequoia School on Saturday it was a cold day to be outside. Some of the kids seem to enjoy the steal the beacon game. We did not have our cereal box game this time. The team still manage to have all the kids that wanted to participate with the two activities that where available. The first half went to the nutrition activity and the other half went with the steal the beacon. Then the kids rotated. The last group we had had only few kids so the a couple of the N.E.E.D team members participated and enjoy it.