SCHRADERGROUP Architect Volunteers with Vetri Cooking Lab
SCHRADERGROUP’s Project Architect, Kelly Ryan, AIA, volunteered her time with Vetri Community Partnership (VCP): Vetri Cooking Lab.
Vetri Cooking Lab is an after-school time program that combines cooking, nutrition education and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) core concepts.
This 10-week curriculum-based program engages 4th through 6th–grade students, using recipes to teach important nutrition lessons (like whole vs. processed foods), the importance of breakfast, reading nutrition labels, added sugar, food marketing and more.
Below we asked Kelly why she did the Cooking Lab and what her experience with VCP and the kids she mentored was like.
SG: How did you find this program?
Kelly: I learned about this program from a neighbor who works for VCP.
SG: Is this your first time volunteering with them?
Kelly: Yes, this was my first semester with VCP, but I plan to continue in the future.
SG: What made you want to do this program? Did you have any programs with mentors or volunteers that inspired you to do this?
Kelly: My architectural thesis centered on creating a network of localized food growers and community education centers to alleviate urban food deserts. At the time of my research, over 2/3 of Americans were overweight or obese and one cause was attributed to limited access to fresh, healthy foods. Programs like Vetri Cooking Lab provide hands on nutrition education and culinary skills to equip children with the knowledge and ability and create healthy habits. I wanted to be a part of VCP’s “Eat. Educate. Empower.” slogan.
SG: What do you think you offered to the kids in the program? Did they offer you anything? (knowledge or experience wise)
Kelly: Outside of teaching them basic kitchen skills, I hope I offered myself as a confident, female role model and an open ear to listen to their daily successes and concerns. It was rewarding to see the kids build their skill sets from class to class, like watching them cut an onion week 1 vs. week 10, and discover the thrill of using an immersion blender. Our Tuesday class was always a Top 10 highlight to my week.
SG: Are there any programs that you are interested in getting involved with in the future?
Kelly: I plan to continue volunteering with Vetri Cooking Lab in the future!
At SCHRADERGROUP, our purpose to give back to the community is our genuine focus in all of our work–inside the office and out.
Read more about VCP and get involved here.