This is my final blog post. Just writing that sentence is surreal! I moved to Northeast Iowa in August 2013 to serve with Food and Fitness and I am now moving, a short two years later. In preparing for my upcoming transition, I have been cleaning out my apartment and office. In doing so, I found a stack of beautiful, bright thank you notes from a Head Start classroom from my first year of service. The notes almost brought me to tears and are a great walk down memory lane. The notes are full of drawings, the messages are translated by adult hands. They range from funny, “Thank you for the stickers,” to downright heart warming, “Thank you for teaching us about different foods. We like healthy food to eat.”
In reflecting on my two years with FoodCorps and Food and Fitness, I am overwhelmed by gratitude. Hands down, my favorite part of service is the relationships I built. The staff in my schools, students, supervisors, and co-workers all left a lasting impression on the course of my life. Along the way, I learned so many valuable lessons. Some of the lessons were funny, some were difficult to swallow. It’s hard to boil down two amazing years of service into a few bullet points, but I’ll share my favorite nuggets of wisdom from teaching kids about real food to help them grow up healthy.
– Never underestimate the power of a smoothie to get kids to eat greens. My “biggest hit” recipes all involved kale or spinach, blended into a delicious drink.
– Students will almost always eat or try a food they made or grew! Out in the garden, kids begged to try fresh kale. Back in the kitchen, students wolfed down guacamole or veggies they cut by hand.
– When in doubt, serve fruit kabobs!
– Never be afraid to ask for help or advice. It builds a coalition of supporters who are more willing to help with future projects.
– Northeast Iowa is full of wonderful people and children I will dearly miss!
So here’s to a fabulous two years of service. To everyone I met along the way, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped make my time in Iowa amazing!