Monday, September 29, 2008

Making Education Come to Life

By Angela Leone, Operation Frontline Assistant Coordinator, AmeriCorps National Direct

I first learned about Operation Frontline in 2005 when I was exploring career paths. From that moment I knew I wanted to be involved with Operation Frontline either as an AmeriCorps member or a future volunteer.

Flash forward. In May 2008 I graduated from Indiana University with an M.S. in Nutrition Science. The opportunity to work for Operation Frontline presented itself, and I jumped at it as quickly as I could! What a perfect way to utilize my degree while gaining immeasurable experience in community nutrition! If all goes as planned, next year I will start my dietetic internship to become a Registered Dietitian (RD)

I’m four weeks and seven classes into my new position, and I couldn’t be more excited about this job! The highlight of working with OFL is getting to know the participants and volunteers.

Last week, at a long term transition home, a discussion of fruits and vegetables took front stage followed by a discussion of sugar. New and favorite vegetables were cut up by participants, roasted, and then piled onto whole wheat pitas for a new take on quick and healthy pizza. During the sugar discussion, participants guessed how many teaspoons of sugar were present in a can of soda. One participant measured sugar, by the teaspoon, into a cup. Once she reached the equivalent of 40 grams of sugar, equal to 10 teaspoons, she stopped to view the sugar. It was indeed a powerful visual! No one was interested in drinking soda, at least for that night.

At a senior citizen center last week we made barley jambalaya and it was delicious. At the end of the session I was chatting with one participant and asked her opinion on the dish. She'd never tasted barely before, but loved it so much that she couldn’t wait to make it for her husband! I am looking forward to seeing her this coming week to find out what her husband thought of the new grain.

Each week we hear stories. see lightbulbs go off and explore new recipes. In an effort to utilize this great resource more, Becky and I will attempt to provide you all with a mini story or tasty recipe each week. You will still get specific updates about classes from time to time and details about conferences and events. However, the quick updates are easier for us and really more meaningful too.

It's almost time for some butternut squash soup, so get that cooking imagination started, and we'll be back soon.


Meghan said...

I look forward to your continued updates on your experience with Operation Frontline, Angela. It was great to meet you last week!

Sandra said...

Wow, barley jambalaya. Would you send me that recipe and any other healthy ones too at ? Thanks a bundle.