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PSCDC Collaborates with UC CalFresh to Offer Cooking Academy Program Amidst Summer Program

CALEXICO, CA - Young PSCDC residents from all over the Calexico area gathered at Villa Del Sol Apartments from June to August this year to learn delicious recipes and the importance of nutrition and healthy eating! PSCDC Resident Services Coordinators in Calexico, Martha Ayala (Las Praderas Apartments), Ana Cruz (Villa Primavera Apartments), Pamela Mardueno (Villa Dorada Apartments), and Layla Perez (Villa Del Sol Apartments and Calexico Family Apartments) held a seven-week Summer Program for children that featured a Summer Cooking Academy, science experiments, and arts and crafts projects.

To kick off the Summer Program and a summer of fun, Resident Services Coordinators hosted an ice cream social event, which included an ice cream art project for attendees to participate in. The Summer Program, a collaborative effort between PSCDC and UC CalFresh, would provide science and art classes on Tuesdays and UC CalFresh's Summer Cooking Academy on Thursdays. During the ice cream social, another local partner organization, RCOE Migrant Head Start, provided community outreach to help facilitate access to comprehensive services for migrant/seasonal farm worker children and their families. Residents also began to register for UC CalFresh's Summer Cooking Academy.

PSCDC's Summer Program art activities included a variety of interesting projects and techniques which included painting with sponges, abstract art painting using masking tape, and marbled paper art with shaving cream and acrylic paint! These are lessons also blended into science activities and experiments. For example, students studied how plants absorbed water by using cabbage leaves and water mixed with food coloring to trace the path of water through a plant's body. UC CalFresh also helped out with science experiments by donating soil, pots, and lettuce and onions seeds to teach kids how to plant seeds and take care of them when they bring them home after decorating and painting their planters.

The cooking academy hosted by UC CalFresh taught the children hand-on skills that they can use in their own home kitchens. UC CalFresh representatives demonstrated how to cut vegetables and fruit, read recipes, measure and mix ingredients, and use cooking tools like griddles, graters, and electric frying pans. Participants were responsible for making sure that their cooking area and dishes were washed and clean at the end of each lesson. Each class started with a nutrition lesson followed by a game to help reinforce what was covered in the lesson.

The recipes the children were taught and cooked themselves were simple yet nutritious and included black bean and vegetable quesadilla, Asian tofu and vegetable stir fry, berry French toast, vegetable wraps, macaroni and cheese with broccoli and peas, apple pie cups, and a berry banana smoothie. As a reward for finishing their cooking academy, residents were also gifted personalized folders which included a certificate of completion and a cookbook, in Spanish and English, of all the recipes that they learned during the summer!

To finish the Summer Program, residents were treated to a movie event along with popcorn, pizza, juice, and ice cream. A special award ceremony was also held where each attendee was awarded a certificate of participation for completing the seven-week program. Overall, Calexico's jointly coordinated Summer Program was a huge success!


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