Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation Provides $100,000 Grant to ChopChopKids to Develop and Run Series of 8 Healthy Cooking Classes at Select Boys & Girls Club Locations Starting July 7th
Wellesley, MA, July 01, 2014 - This summer, Boys & Girls Clubs’ members in Worcester and Boston will be the first groups to learn first-hand about healthy cooking and eating from two thought-leaders in the culinary world -- Sally Sampson, founder of ChopChopKids and renowned cookbook author, and Bill Yosses, the former White House pastry chef -- thanks to a $100,000 grant fromHarvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. The Watertown, Mass.-based nonprofit organization, ChopChopKids, publishes the James Beard award-winning ChopChop: The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation grant will provide for a total of eight healthy cooking classes at select Boys & Girls Club locations in Massachusetts throughout the summer and fall.
“What better way to learn about healthy cooking and eating than from two top-notch chefs who care about the well-being of our kids,” said Karen Voci, president of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, which funds programs that prevent and combat childhood obesity by changing the environments where kids play and learn. “One of the lessons we’ve learned through our work creating healthy environments for kids in the region over the past eight years is that cooking is a lost art, regardless of income. Here is an opportunity to see if skilled professionals, specializing in providing healthy cooking lessons to kids, can have an impact.”
Starting with a week-long series of healthy cooking classes at the Worcester Boys & Girls Club on Monday, July 7th, Sampson and Yosses, the new director of the ChopChop Cooking Lab, will teach 8- to 12-year-olds how to prepare, cook, and enjoy healthy offerings. On the family-friendly menu are yogurt parfaits and smoothies, gazpacho and panzanella, quesadillas and guacamole, beanie burgers & hummus.
The second cooking class in the series of eight will take place in Boston at the Blue Hills Boys & Girls Club from August 11th – 15th. The remaining schedule will be announced later this summer.
Sampson and Yosses’ met several years ago when ChopChop Magazine went to the White House to photograph its Fall 2011 issue featuring White House chefs. These highly regarded experts on childhood obesity and nutrition have since become good friends and frequent collaborators.
“We were inspired to work with Sally and her team to create a fun, hands-on learning program that got kids excited about cooking, and that could potentially be replicated on a larger footprint,” added Voci. “We know that if kids learn healthy eating habits right from the start, they are more likely to maintain healthy lifestyles into their teen and adult years – and that’s what we’re working towards.”
The goal, according to Voci, is to determine if these evidence-based strategies – providing kids with the skills, recipes, food and tools they need to bring healthy eating home to their families – can work on a large scale.
“We want to making cooking cool,” said Sampson. “We believe that making cooking an enjoyable, shared activity for children will instill in them the joy of creating great tasting meals for themselves and their families. Our goal is encourage them to become more adventurous, and ultimately lead to making better food choices.”
In his first stint since leaving the White House this June, Yosses is eager to make healthy food synonymous with delicious food by devoting time to food literacy. His particular interest is in weaving in gardening and science.
“Working at the White House and with first lady, Michelle Obama, reinforced my interest in the relationship between food and health and I began thinking about teaching children and adults about eating better,” said Yosses, who had been the White House pastry chef since 2007. “The White House garden was inspiring and I got to experiment with a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs in my healthy dessert creations. I am looking forward to sharing my love of fresh local produce with young people and having an impact on their long-term well-being.”
The curriculum for the Boys & Girls Club cooking will include taste tests and discussions, recipe writing & scientific method experiments, honing math skills through measurements, science through cooking, equipment demonstrations, MyPlate activities, mindfulness activities, and take-home worksheets. Participants will bring home with them not only cooking skills, but also recipes, food, and basic cooking preparation tools to create these dishes at home with their families.
“Teaching kids the value of healthy eating is an important step in getting them to eat right, stay active, and live a long, healthy life,” added Voci. “Now that’s something worth celebrating.”
Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, ChopChop, The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families, is a nonprofit quarterly food magazine. Published by ChopChopKids, Inc, a 501(c)(3), ChopChop’s mission is to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families. Its vision is to reduce and prevent childhood obesity. ChopChop was named the 2013 Publication of the Year by the culinary industry’s James Beard Foundation, and is the only non-profit publication to win the award. ChopChop is also the recipient of a prestigious gold award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation, the nation’s oldest nonprofit guide to quality children’s media and toys. To learn more about ChopChop's mission, and to support the organization by subscribing to ChopChop Magazine or by donating to its cause, please visit http://www.chopchopmag.org. Follow ChopChop on Twitter at @ChopChopMag, on Facebook at facebook.com/ChopChopMagazine or on Pinterest at pinterest/ChopChopMag.
The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. In 2013, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded more than $2.8 million in grants to nearly 650 nonprofit organizations in the region. Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has granted more than $130 million in funds throughout the three states. For more information, please visithttp://www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.