Program Contact: Kat Stork,
The Lifelong Learning Centers have for the past 5 years maintained a strong cooking and nutrition component in their enrichment programs. In FY17 the program expands its goals to include a comprehensive locally designed two generation component to the program that focuses on using Basic Life Skills with an emphasis on areas that can improve food security within the young person’s home immediately and create habits that will help break the cycle of poverty and food insecurity in their futures. Key to the expansion is to engage both youth and parents in developing knowledge and skills related to good budgeting and meal planning, food choices, and healthy economical cooking. The program focuses on helping both youth and parents develop the skills and knowledge to reduce their household’s food insecurity and increase consumption of food that promotes an active, healthy lifestyle.
A comprehensive afterschool and parenting education program at three sites (Federalsburg Elementary, Colonel Richardson Middle and Lockerman Middle Schools) include a locally designed basic life skills curriculum that focuses on four areas directly related to nutrition, health and cooking. These include:
- Math & Economics: You have Bills to Pay and You Need To Eat – Learning to do both on a Budget (16; 45 minute classes)
- Food Science & Biology: the science in growing and preparing food (16; 45 minutes classes)
- Nutrition & Health: All Foods are Not Created Equal – Learning to Read Nutrition Labels and More (16;-45 min classes)
- Cooking Matters: What We Buy, How We Prepare It and How We Store It Makes A Difference –Classes will include store tour, farm tours, kitchen boot camp (food safety), canning & freezing.
Additionally, the program provides a variety of health and wellness enrichment activities. Caroline County ranks the highest in the state in obesity rates. Research shows that there is a direct correlation between food insecurity and poor availability of healthy food in homes and obesity in children. The recreation enrichment components of the program use the SPARK and GenMove curricula as the basis for its physical wellness components. Both are proven research-based curricula. The Lifelong Learning Center (LLC) sites are already aligned with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and incorporate the Alliance’s Framework into the program model.
This is also a two generation program. While students are learning about the components that go into making good food decisions and how to get the most out of their limited food budgets, parents are provided with a comparable albeit shorter series of classes that include: 1) What Community Resources are available to help my family eat well; 2) Cooking Matters Store Tour; 3) Kitchen Boot Camp: how to prepare one chicken to get a week of meals; 4)Canning & Freezing 5) Food & Kitchen Safety 6) Money Habitudes with UMD’s Dr. Welsh.