Kysha Rooks: Communities In Schools, EFNEP try to support students
Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 2021
Communities In Schools of Rowan County is collaborating with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in Rowan County.
CIS, the nation’s leading community-based organization helping young people stay in school and prepare for life, began in Rowan County in 1998 and was chartered in 2001. CIS serves selected Rowan-Salisbury Schools.
The CIS mission is “to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.”
James Davis is executive director of CIS.
I met him in September via a Zoom meeting with Food and Farm Network (Bread Riot), co-founders Carol Schmitz-Corken and Dottie Hoy and other organizations that serve Rowan County residents.
Food and Farm Network is an organization that helps combat food insecurities in the county. The program also intends to educate Rowan County residents about healthy food choices and provide networking opportunities for vendors, consumers and farmers throughout the county.
After a successful meeting with Davis about how EFNEP could benefit his organization, I was partnered with Student Support Specialist Lynette Wilson and Agriculture teachers Katie Dionne of North Rowan Middle and Lashunda Durham of Knox Middle.
The role of the student support specialist is to bring community resources into the schools to empower success for all students by removing barriers for those at risk of dropping out. They work to keep kids in schools and on the path to graduation by leveraging evidence, relationships and local resources to drive results.
I’m currently teaching teen cuisine, a cooking and nutrition education curriculum for teens in grades 6 to 12 at both schools. Lessons are one hour per day for six weeks and designed to teach important life skills to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Key components are food and kitchen safety skills, new healthy recipes, meal planning, food preparation and cooking, reading nutrition fact labels, knife safety skills, team building and adding daily physical activity.
I would like to thank Knox Middle and North Rowan Middle principals, CIS, the director and staff for the opportunity to allow EFNEP to be a part of educating and encouraging students about overall healthy eating.
Kysha Rooks is Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) educator with the N.C. Cooperative Extension. Contact her at 704-216-8970.