The Cooking Matters team here at Solid Ground has decided to set a volunteer of the month recognition process! We appreciate all that our volunteers contribute and wanted create more opportunities to recognize all the great work that they do. As a result, each month you will be able to read about an exceptional volunteer in our program.
To start us off, we have elected Sharon as our Star Volunteer for November.
Sharon started volunteering with Cooking Matters earlier this year, and has been with us since as a Nutrition Instructor. When you watch Sharon work with the participants you can easily tell that she is invested in helping participants understand why nutrition is important. She also makes sure to explain the processes that can help maintain a regular habit of eating healthier meals.
Based on Sharon’s profession is personal trainer, she was able to explain to me how her experience from her job can overlap into her volunteer work as a nutrition educator.
When reflecting about her personal training patients, with whom she’s worked with over the span of years, Sharon is able to express in what exciting ways they are similar to Cooking Matters Participants.
“They [personal training clients] make the changes in the lifestyle and the diet changes, the exercise, and managing their relationships from, you know, maybe the toxic ones to more supportive relationships. They’ve done all the work, and I’ve only done a little bit to help them along the way. But to, you know, just to think I give a little bit of help for them. I don’t know, I just love seeing the transformation. Cooking Matters is a little bit like that, you see them at the beginning of the six weeks and then you see them at the end of the six weeks. They’ve learned a lot, especially when they do the review game [Jeopardy], the game at the end [of the class series] and they know all the answers. It’s pretty cool.”
When discussing with Sharon her reasoning for participating in the Cooking Matters program, you can easily grasp that she enjoys helping others, especially through a process that promotes self-sufficiency. Sharon easily incorporates Solid Ground’s goals for cultural competency and sensitivity towards a diverse set of opinions, as well as maintaining a reflective perspective with all the participants she works with.
“Some of the people that I’ve met in the classes, they grew up in a culture where vegetables aren’t often used in cooking, and they know it’s healthier for them, but they just don’t know. They weren’t brought up that way, to use, to incorporate vegetables into their cooking and we’ve shown them through the Cooking Matters program how they can kind of put the vegetables there and make it tasty in a way that their families will still eat it.”
Sharon is not only a volunteer with Cooking Matters, but also volunteers at the SIFF festival and KEXP radio. With SIFF, Sharon is able to helps review film submissions that will potentially be entered into the festival. At KEXP she has a wide range of interesting positions, for the most part she helps the DJ’s with music selection and band updates, or even band hospitality!
When asked what advice she has for other Cooking Matters volunteers Sharon responded:
“I think just to enjoy the way that people benefit from the program. That you’re doing so much good in helping people out, and to enjoy that, I think it’s great. That’s my driving motivation, is because it makes me feel so good, to see all these people benefit. I don’t derive great pleasure in teaching, right. I derive great pleasure from the benefit that they gave after I teach.”