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Chat with a Food Literacy Genius

Food Literacy Center has only two staff, yet served 2,400 kids last year. How do we reach so many kids with our cooking and nutrition classes? We do it with the help of amazing volunteers like Amanda Monyko and Thom Stone.

Thom, one of our summer interns, sat down with Amanda to find out about her experience training to become a certified Food Literacy Genius.

Q: What made you want to take the summer Food Literacy Academy course?
A: I wanted to become a more knowledgeable food advocate so that I could be better equipped to teach kids how to eat healthily and conscientiously. I’m currently a dietetics major at Sacramento State and I love working with kids so it seemed like a natural next step for me to get some extra training underway. But kids are always so easy to please and easy to talk to; it makes working with them really fun!

Q: Could you tell us one fun tidbit from the course?
A: On the final day, we got to try out a food literacy program that we planned ourselves. It was a really engaging way to test my abilities both as a teacher and a leader. Without doing that, I don’t think I would have had a way of knowing if I could really become a full-fledged food genius.

Q: Did you think the three day duration of the course adequately prepared you to be a food genius?
A: I thought that the course was very fast-paced but totally doable. Nothing felt rushed to me, in fact, I wondered if they took out any material from the ten-week course at all. There were only six of us so even the individual tests and activities were well-timed.

Q: Where do you see yourself taking these new skills after you graduate and look for other work?
A: Well, I wanted to work with kids before I took the course so I don’t think that has changed at all but I will say that specialized training in a given field is vital to attaining any sort of career. This proved to be a great opportunity for people like myself who are interested in kids’ health or nutrition education. I think the knowledge I gained from this course will only continue to build on itself through more experience.

Q: What was your favorite aspect of the course?
A: I liked the fact that Amber and Elaine invited others to come in and teach lessons as well, especially Lynn Hanna: a nutrition professor I know from Sacramento State. I thought that perspectives like hers really helped to diversify and enrich the advice that we were getting.

Q: Do you have any advice to future applicants?
A: If you have a passion to work with kids, you’ll love it because it’s all centered around that. The course includes some really great expertise on the part of the food literacy geniuses. They’ll impart you with an ideal knowledge base for going forward in teaching about food literacy so make sure you know what you’re there for!

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