Monday, March 16, 2015

DC Central Kitchen: Working With the Community.

            At this point in the internship, we are nearing the end.  It’s hard to believe how fast the weeks have gone!  As I look ahead to our exciting future, I can’t help but reminisce about my first few rotations. 
Let me take you back to one of our community rotations at DC Central Kitchen.  The staff works with individuals to provide healthy meals, future jobs, reducing hunger, and so much more!  I was so excited to take part in this initiative.  I had many eye-opening days that I will truly never forget.  I’m going to talk through some events we participated in; however, these are only a few provided by this wonderful facility. 

Healthy Corners

            Healthy Corners is a program that my partner and I were able to work directly with.  They focus on bringing affordable, healthy food products to convenient stores to help low-income communities and food deserts and/or swamps.  Essentially, they are selling smaller amounts of healthy food to the stores to increase accessibility. 
            My preceptor took us to a Healthy Corners event.  The event was providing free HIV and Hepatitis C testing, handing out goodie bags filled with healthy food items, and raising awareness.  I helped conduct surveys to participants, to gather and share related information on the program.  Many of the individuals were enthusiastic about providing their positive input on Healthy Corners!  We also shared the "Better for you Brownies" with participants.  They were a big hit!  I was able to strengthen my communication skills by jumping right in during the event.

Here we are helping our preceptor at a Healthy Corners community event.

Culinary Job Training

            The Culinary Job Training program provides students with a chance to become educated, and eventually work, in the food service environment.  My partner and I had the incredible chance to actually teach one of the classes.  Our class focused on whole grains and healthy shopping on a budget.  The class was filled with 8 extremely attentive students.  We provided them with the lesson content, quizzes, and answers to any questions they had.  I was so lucky to help empower the community members by providing useful nutrition content.

In this picture I am teaching a Culinary Job Training class.

Working in the office

            Our work at DC Central Kitchen included many hands on activities in the community.  However, some days we worked “behind the scenes” in the office.  My partner and I had so much fun creating activities to teach nutrition, including fat demonstrations in specific food products, Jeopardy games, and monthly newsletters.  We also worked on a PowerPoint focused on poverty and food deserts right here in Washington D.C.  This presentation was later presented to a class of college students to increase awareness. 

This was a fat demonstration to use in later educational classes.

Whether we were out in the field or behind a computer screen, DC Central Kitchen provided an irreplaceable opportunity.  During the UMD Dietetic Internship you will get your feet wet in so many areas of nutrition ranging from community settings, clinical, food service, and informatics.  My one piece of advice that carries through all rotations: Be open to any and all opportunities! 

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