Due to program expansion, Solid Ground’s Cooking Matters is conducting more nutrition and cooking classes each quarter than ever before. Although we are happy to see our reach broaden to a larger audience, we need more volunteers to help us keep our classes running as smoothly as possible.
As a result, we are on the lookout for new volunteers who have an interest in nutrition or cooking to help us with classes for 8-15 participants each. Our three main volunteer roles are Nutrition Facilitator, Cooking Facilitator, and Class Assistant … hard to choose, I know. Here’s some more info to help you decide!
Enjoy learning and talking about the connections our bodies have with food? Are you especially interested in why some foods are beneficial to our health and others not so much? Perfect! The Nutrition Facilitator role is for you.
As a Nutrition Facilitator, you will discuss healthy eating tips and lead interactive activities with participants. The primary goal of this role is to prompt discussion and encourage participants to think more about what they eat and to broaden awareness of ways they can alter their choices to be healthier and more cost efficient.
Discussions commonly reflect on the MyPlate model as a tool for healthy eating, planning balanced meals, understanding the benefits of fruits and vegetables, food budgeting, label reading, learning about whole grains and fiber, as well as physical activity. We encourage individuals with backgrounds in nutrition, food science, dietetics or a related field to apply for this role.
If you have a passion for preparing healthy and tasty foods, then the Cooking Facilitator role is a great place to expand your hobby or professional experiences.
Our volunteer Cooking Facilitators prepare two foods in class (one snack and one main dish) while demonstrating and discussing food safety. Our Chefs suggest healthy tips to keep in mind when shopping for ingredients or cooking, such as replacing salt with herbs. The classes are highly participatory, meaning that the “students” will cook along with you!
A large part of the Cooking Facilitator’s role is overseeing participants as they work on different steps in a recipe, making sure they prep the ingredients safely, and remaining available if anyone has questions. Some cooking skills we demonstrate and practice in class include: proper knife handling, various cooking methods, food safety, recipe reading, and sanitation practices.
Want to be involved but not necessarily in the spotlight? Want to see in person how a facilitation role works with each class for the entire 6-week course before taking on the task yourself? The Class Assistant role allows just that — and is perfect for volunteers who would like to see a class in action before taking on more responsibility.
Class Assistants are the necessary backbone to our classes, making sure that each class transitions quickly and smoothly from cooking to nutrition and back. They help instructors and facilitators with classroom setup, food preparation, class activities, and cleanup. Other duties may include packing groceries for participants to take home, unloading and loading kitchen equipment, and washing dishes.
All right… feeling excited and want to jump in? Perfect! But wait, can you do it? How much of a time commitment is this?
Our commitment is only 3 hours a week for a 6-week course. We require 2 hours for class time, preceded by half an hour for setup and half an hour for cleanup. Have no fear, we do our best to provide a wide range of times throughout the week to make opportunities available to fit many schedules. Class start times range from as early as 10am to as late as 6pm, Monday through Friday.
Chomping at the bit but still unsure of what to expect and how to work with your participants? We have that covered too.
Once you complete our necessary and quick paperwork, consisting of filling out and submitting 1) our Cooking Matters Volunteer Application, 2) Solid Ground’s Volunteer Application, and 3) a Washington State Background Check, you will be invited to a 4) New Volunteer Orientation held at Solid Ground. At the orientation you will learn more about Cooking Matters as well as other similar volunteer activities that may catch your interest.
Shortly after, we offer 5) Nutrition Education New Volunteer Training specifically to give an overview of our class curriculum, the volunteer roles involved, and an explanation of our facilitation focus. We will also make sure you are aware and prepped for our volunteer expectations, including getting your 6) Washington State Food Handler’s Permit.
As an option you can also 7) observe a class already in session. After the orientation and training, you should feel confident to sign up for any open volunteer class positions.
Ready to get started on your adventure with Cooking Matters or have a question that hasn’t already been answered? Feel free to contact Shana McCann, Program Coordinator at 206.694.6869 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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