More than 3,000 low-income children will have the opportunity to learn about healthy eating as well as prepare some fun recipes through Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program’s summer internship. Eighteen students were selected to work in communities through out the state, recruiting sites and teaching children who have challenges accessing healthy food. They will teach the basics of MyPlate, the importance of physical activity, and basic food preparation skills, all using fun, hands-on teaching methods.
Virginia Cooperative Extension delivers educational programs to citizens of Virginia within their communities. The Family Nutrition Program, offered through Virginia Cooperative Extension, teaches limited-resource families and youth how to make healthier food choices and become better managers of available food resources for optimal health and growth. Programs focus on basic nutrition, physical activity, safe food handling, and thrifty food shopping.
The Family Nutrition Program, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health, created a Summer Internship Program to provide undergraduate students in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise with the opportunity to gain valuable experience delivering nutrition programming in the community settings. Of the 18 students, 12 are teaching at Summer Food Service Program (a USDA program that ensures low-income children receive free meals that meet the federal nutrition guidelines when schools are out for the summer) sites and six are teaching at farmers markets using the Stellar Farmers’ Market program from the New York City Department of Health.
The Family Nutrition Program Summer Internship Program is a valuable learning experience for HNFE students, exposing them to the realities of working in community-based settings. One past intern said, “The Family Nutrition Program internship was an amazing experience. I greatly improved my public speaking skills and changed the views many kids have on nutrition.”
Another student said, “Interning with the Family Nutrition Program was one of the best experiences for me professionally and personally in college. I learned an incredible amount about working in community nutrition and about myself. It was a challenging and eye-opening experience that I am very grateful to have before graduating.”
The Family Nutrition Program will be recruiting HNFE students for the Summer of 2015 beginning this fall. Interested students should contact Lynn Margheim, a Family Nutrition Program project associate and the summer internship program coordinator, if interested.