AmeriCorps Food Geniuses
As our seventh year ramps up, we want to shine a strawberry spotlight on our incredible AmeriCorps Food Geniuses (aka Food Literacy Corps members). For the past year and a half, these members have worked tirelessly to help us expand our program to more low-income schools and inspire kids to learn about healthy fruits and vegetables. We are persimmon proud to honor our AmeriCorps Food Geniuses as January’s Food Literacy Heroes!
Founded in 1994, AmeriCorps is a voluntary civil society program supported by the U.S. federal government, corporations, foundations, and other donors. In the fall of 2016, Food Literacy Center received a nationally competitive AmeriCorps program award administered by California Volunteers and sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Thirteen AmeriCorps service members were trained through our Food Literacy Academy, a 28-hour intensive program, on topics of nutrition, food systems, food safety, and how to implement our curriculum. The award was renewed this year and currently, we have 13 full-time members serving with us. Our AmeriCorps Food Geniuses not only teach kids food literacy, they also recruit and train volunteers to assist them, and do all the behind-the-scenes work to prepare and evaluate our programs.
“Bringing on AmeriCorps members to run our programs was an important financial investment,” said Amber Stott, Founding Executive Director at Food Literacy Center. “Every dollar we receive through the program must be matched by our community of donors. It has yielded significant gains in program improvements. Over ninety percent of our kids are willing to try a new fruit or vegetable every week! These AmeriCorps members are their role models.”
The AmeriCorps Food Geniuses are heroes to the kids they teach and our community for all the invaluable work they do every day. They are collecting crucial data that has elevated our program evaluation significantly.
AmeriCorps not only help us enrich the lives of kids, but it has also helped enrich the lives of AmeriCorps members. Our Food Geniuses come from a variety of backgrounds. Some of them are native to Sacramento (one of them is teaching at the elementary school she once attended!) and some moved here from other cities. A lot of them are recent college graduates but there are others who are transitioning to new careers. They are all gaining new valuable skills and expertise during their term of service to support them in their professional development.
“The consistency in instruction that our AmeriCorps members have brought to Food Literacy Center has been hugely beneficial for our students,” said Laura Tuller, Program Manager. “They’re building strong relationships and having joyful experiences with fruits and vegetables week after week, transforming them into lifelong advocates for their own health.”
Food Literacy Center is in the process of recruiting several half-term AmeriCorps positions that will begin in late January 2018 and serve with us until August. If you want to become a food literacy hero to hundreds of kids in Sacramento, please click here to learn more about the program.