Cooking with Kids Foundation
and oatbrain muffins
A Bit of History
Cooking with Kids Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) foundation (CWKF) that continues to concentrate its efforts to expand Chef Lynda’s hands-on cooking classes in order to reach more organizations and include more children in learning the foundation’s approach to healthy eating and good nutrition. To facilitate its expansion, the foundation has a three-fold plan:
- To formalize the curriculum in order to implement Chef Lynda’s teaching methods and to train additional teachers
- To sponsor pilot programs to test the effectiveness of the curriculum
- To generate additional funds by actively seeking grants to support the expansion
Once the program is fully documented it will be provided free to organizations that reach out to at risk children in under served neighborhoods. This curriculum, through a projected licensing agreement, will also be offered to schools and teachers nationwide in order to reach as many children as possible.
2010 Cooking with Kids Foundation Begins Its Expansion
In early November 2010, Cooking with Kids Foundation launched its first pilot program. In cooperation with Monument Community First 5 Center, Chef Lynda taught a series of classes featuring healthy snacks to a group of four and five year old children and their parents. All ingredients for the snacks were provided by the foundation with grants from two local Trader Joe's stores. At the series end, each child received a cookbook and complete instructions, beginning with kitchen safety.
Chef Lynda eagerly worked with parents to continue to teach children the skills to cook healthy foods. The children were excited about being included in the hands-on preparation of a different snack each week. Parents were encouraged to take their children shopping to find, but not purchase, the snack ingredients in their local markets, beforehand. Not only did each child take part in creating the recipe, they, also, reported how fun it was to learn how to shop for that week's recipe.
In class the children were introduced to the Food Pyramid for Kids. The snack ingredients were charted to make sure they filled a nutritional need. While the parents created their own snack each week, Chef Lynda gave the children samples of tropical fruits, different grains and a variety of herbs to identify, taste, and describe (some tasted lychee nuts for the first time). The completed worksheets were taken home to share with other members of their families.
Banana mango smoothie was the first snack. Each child followed the recipe as they helped cut up the banana, measure the mangoes, orange juice and yogurt. They even managed to measure the few drops of vanilla. All were fascinated with the blender and the necessity of holding the lid while blending. This was a quick lesson in physics. The completed smoothie provided a healthy portion in class with enough to take home.
Chef Lynda felt the final recipe, which was a Veggie Dip with Fresh Vegetables, was the most rewarding. The children prepared the dip using fresh herbs for seasoning. Chef Lynda offered the usual fresh vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, celery and tomatoes. Some of the cauliflower and broccoli was reserved for blanching, so that the children could compare between cooked and raw vegetables. At the end of each cooking session the children got to taste and comment on what they've cooked. They could see the brighter color and noticed that blanching brought out the natural sweetness of the vegetables. They cleaned up the cauliflower and broccoli first, some ate all the carrots and tomatoes while others asked for more, much to the surprise of their parents!
The pilot program was a success. As the American Heart Association says, "it is never too early to teach children about good nutrition". The curriculum which Chef Lynda has been using for thirteen years worked perfectly. Parents and children worked very well together. Evaluations clearly showed parents especially liked shopping with their children and enjoyed seeing them willingly eat fresh vegetables and fruit. Chef Lynda also completed an additional pilot program at Building Blocks in Concord with the same strong parental support. We hope to have the funds to support our programs so that these classes continue combating childhood obesity and diabetes.
Chef Lynda Takes Her Classes to Livermore
Later in the Fall of 2010, Chef Lynda took CWKF to Junction Elementary School in Livermore. Through Title I funds, the Livermore Recreation Department and school district cooperated invited Chef Lynda to present an after school program for Junction Elementary children. CWKF provided all the ingredients for these classes. Twelve students met once a week in the school cafeteria kitchen to learn about the food pyramid, as well as kitchen cleanliness and food safety. Under the guidance of Chef Lynda, the class prepared a different healthy food each week. The highlights included smoothies, yeast bread dough, salads and stuffed chicken breasts. Each student was encouraged to take home a sample of the prepared food to share with parents. The following week centered on discussing parental feedback on how much they liked the dishes. Many students made the dish at home often with unusual variations of what was on hand. The children were very proud of their new cooking skills.
2012 Began with Many Changes and Real Progress
Chef Lynda continued her classes at Junction Elementary School in Livermore and was able to expand the number of classes offered and doubled the class-time hours. Chef Lynda and Cooking with Kids organized several fundraisers at Walnut Creek's Sunday Farmer's Market and made a brief appearance at the Alameda County Fair.
Great end to 2012
CWKF received a lot of great support during 2012 from Heena Dwividey, Patrick Kevill, Elizabeth Kahn, and Virgil Birgronia. The time and creative energy they contributed to the program made a huge difference in moving CWKF forward.
Heena Dwividey, a trained grant writer and business entrepreneur, completed CWKF’s application for funding from Kaiser Permanente’s Community Program and helped introduce the concept of a health handbook.
Patrick Kevil, an active and energetic marketing director re-worked the foundation’s website, created a new logo, made contacts with merchants and designed flyers.
Elizabeth (Beth) Kahn, a trained dietitian and the author of A Nutrition Revolution: Uncover the Mysteries of Nutrition began the task of revising“old favorite” recipes to meet CWKF’s health standards.
Virgil Birgronia, the branch manger of Fremont Bank in Livermore, joined the CWKF Board in 2012 and continues to assist as a director, financial advisor and a sponsor of CWKF’s activities.
2014 provided new opportunities for Board changes as successfully dedicated members ended their term of service and new Board Members were added to continue with the expansion. In January, we updated a cooking class video with Junction Avenue’s Pre-school in Livermore. This represents the children who need but don’t have the access to the health education crucial to their advancement.
The Schools do not have kitchen facilities for us to teach in, therefore, the board began to research a mobile kitchen option to bring our program to these lacking environments. Our cooking classes have both theory and practical application. We now see that an RV customized and remodeled to fit our needs, would cost approximately $90k or more to materialize.
As we expand the foundation to reach larger numbers we are also accommodating the 50-60% Spanish speaking communities. We were able to achieve our goal of having our curriculum and the Children’s cookbooks also translated into Spanish so that our Bi-lingual instructors have the tools they need to teach in this language as well. Our plan is to continue with other languages as funding permits.
We began to look at the following partnerships:
- CLISA - St. Mary’s College of CA, volunteer program as a source of student interns and volunteers
- Junior League of Oakland and the East Bay for possible volunteers and funding.
With our new fundraising board member Tony De Venuta of Bullfrog Creek Vineyard Winery, we set out the next year’s fundraising event calendar (2015) with five fundraisers, starting in May and ending in September 2015.
In December 2014, Bill Durkin of Canyon Winery joined our Board of Directors, helping our foundation achieve another future goal of getting the schools (after school enrichment programs) to build on-site vegetable gardens for us to incorporated into our curriculum.
A nutritionist, Lisa Ota joined our Board, advising us on curriculum changes. In February, we began working closer to the CILSA program of St. Mary’s College of CA. A landscaper Laurel Roaldson has joined our board and is assisting Bill with the school garden building and design project. In April, Jann Gorski joined our Board of Directors, chairing the fundraising with Bill Durkin. CWKF began sending out our first in a series Constant Contact on-line Newsletter.
In May, we did a Children’s interactive educational booth at the Moraga Community Fair where we taught over 100 children how to safely cut fresh vegetables and fruit and gave them packets of seeds to encourage them to garden. Also in May, we had a small successful fundraiser at the Bullfrog Creek Winery in Moraga, CA with the purpose of raising money for the mobile classroom kitchen.
In September, at the Lafayette Art and Wine Festival we hosted another Children’s interactive educational booth, where we taught 270 children how to safely cut fresh vegetables and fruit. The children received a free logo’d apron containing a packet of seeds to encourage them to garden. Three lucky raffle participants received a Fall Cooking Series as their prize. People were excited to join the newsletter email list to continue receiving further information. In October, at St. Mary’s College CILSA/Career Day we spoke with students about doing college credits projects using website redesign, brochure edits, marketing, as well as updating the Spanish curriculum while staying in compliance with the CA State Board guidelines. We are planning to do a Fall Harvest Celebration which will be in early November 2016.
We will continue to accumulate funds for the mobile classroom kitchen so that we can serve the under-served children of our communities. At the end of October, our office staff will be submitting grant proposals to several banks and women’s clubs. We met with Assemblywoman Catherine Baker and Congressmen Mark DeSaulnier’s District Director of Community Relations with regards to writing Federal grants and for general support for our program. We also had a booth at CoCo San Sustainable Farm on October 17, 2015 supporting the programs for soil, permaculture, cover crops, recycled water and integrated pest management.
On November 12, 2015 we will host a booth at the LaMorinda Mom’s Preschool Fair. We are designing a licensing agreement to implement to include local school districts.
We welcomed gardening into our new curriculum. We successfully completed the Moraga Faire and the LaMorinda Mom's Summer Fest Events bringing healthy knowledge to children and their families.
April We were hosted by Our Saviors Lutheran Church's Wine & Tapas Lecture series. Chef Lynda, CWKF's board member Bill Durkin and Nutritionist Lisa Ota spoke about children's health in America. We were a great hit with the guests.
November 5, We hosted our 1 st Annual Harvest Celebration Fundraiser. Our food sponsors were Fraiche Catering, Urban Plates and Amaroma, Reve Bistro & Bonnie Forman's Desserts. Wines were sponsored by the Lamorinda Winegrowers Association, We had a silent and Live Auction lead by Auctioneer Dennis McCormac. Trips to Bernardus lodge & Spa donated a weekend paired with a BMW and much much more. A great time was had by all our guests. and we raised $9,595 for our Mobile Classroom Kitchen Project.
May 4 CWKF is hosting "it's a matter of Taste" fundraising luncheon at the Our Saviors Lutheran Church. Fraiche Catering provide a beautiful, delicious and healthy lunch for us. Meadow Veiw & Deer Hill Wineries provided their Award winning wines. Dr. Nazia Sheriff Health Advsior to our Board of Directors was our Keynote speaker. With her many years as a Pediatrician and parent gave us a clear picture of the state of children's health in America. Very sweetly Clare & Crofton Frieders twins from our past cooking classes in Walnut Creek told our guests what they learned from our cooking classes. We Auctioned off A 4 day trip to Cancun, Stephen Curry Framed Jersey, SF Giants Buster Posey Commemorated, Oakland Raiders Derek Carr Signed Commemorative. Our Spring fundraiser was a great success.
We raised $4,490 toward our Moblie Classroom Kitchen Project. Our Mexican cooking camps were full with wait lists every child wants to make the chicken lime soup and of course the Mexican Wedding cakes(cookies)
May we were at the Moraga Community Faire in Moraga, CA. Our children's booth was so much fun. The children learned to cut fresh fruits and vegetables and of course eat them if they wanted to. Two summer camp sessions were the top prizes the children could win. We had two very happy children by the end of the Faire.
Our summer Chinese cooking camps were extended by one hour and both parents and children were happy to be cooking longer!. The pot stickers were gone as soon as they were made. We added a new location to our summer camps, Pleasanton Community Center in Pleasanton CA. and the Moraga Country Club Moraga CA. summer camp program. Our camps were booked early with long wait lists. We did Healthy Food Demonstration for Parents & Children at the Pleasant Hill Senior Center in Pleasant Hill, CA. At the Lafayette Library we did two Healthy Food Demonstrations where Dr. Nazia Sheriff spoke to the parents and their children about how and why to eat healthy. Our apple peanut butter/almond butter sandwiches and oat bran muffins were a hit with everyone. We also added a late fall breads and soups camp in Orinda, CA. and winter break camps in Livermore CA. Our children loved learning to make and bake 3 different breads and soups. There wasn't a crumb left on any plate.
This is our 10 th Anniversary of becoming a not for profit 501 c3. We are very proud of the work our Foundation has done over the past 10 years. And to start the year off our Foundation is funding a free cooking class session at the Monument Crisis Center in Concord, CA. The children in this community are at an even greater risk for the obestiy and childhood diabetes and the One - in every Three children in America. due to the lack of schools providing this health education nor their parent having this education themselves. The children are so much fun to teach and Monument Crisis Center Staff are outstanding to work with. We have continued these passed 10 yrs. to also to Birthday Party Cooking classes and Scout Badge cooking classes. Our summer Italian dinner camps were very successful again and the children loved learning to make and eat the Foccaia and the Fettuccine Ala Alfredo not a strand of pasta or sauce was left on the plates. And Cannoli was a big hit too. The children learned to make a very advanced dessert called Zuccotto which is not only beautiful but very Yum. This fall the Board of Directors researched the idea of having a having a for profit arm of our not for profit 501 c3. This would support our foundation to expand our Free cooking class sessions in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties and beyond. We are very limited in what we can do to support the under served at risk children. We have moved forward with
bringing a food product that Chef Lynda produced in her at the Apple Lane Baker (whole sale bakery). 2020 will be a launch year for this profit arm.
We completed our year with a Thanksgiving 3 day Bread and soup camp at the Orinda Community Center Orinda, CA. The children loved the potato leek soup, cranberry cookies and pumpkin cake lots of smiles in the class. And saying they will be back for more.
We started off our new year with conversions with the Diablo Valley Culinary Arts Dept. at the Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA. with regards to working with their student chefs on our food product. We will be starting with two new clients for our summer camps this year. Unity Center of Walnut Creek, CA. and Sleepy Hollow Swim and Tennis Club in Orinda, CA. They sure to be enjoying the Greek dinner camp this summer.
Covid-19 had us cancel our spring cooking class sessions. Our Greek summer cooking camps and fall have also been cancelled due to Covid -19.
We will be starting back in Livermore a very yummy Greek Dinner summer camp in June at their Robert Livermore Community Center and for TWO one week camps in July at the Wilder Ranch House kitchen in Orinda. We are very grateful to be returning to all you children and parents.
We are very hopeful that we will have all of our clients up and running cooking in the fall.