Making Healthy Plates at Richmond’s Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative
Last Wednesday night, staff nutrition educators Diego and Chantal made a big splash in Richmond.. with an enormous pile of kale.
Dozens of elementary school children tore into leaves of kale, pulling leaf from stem. The kale leaves found their way into big, communal mixing bowls, where scores of little hands massaged the green veggies from tough to tender. Meanwhile, parents and caregivers looked on as other kids worked to break up heads of cauliflower, and scoop soft avocado out from their rinds.
This lively scene was the pinnacle of a Healthy Food, Healthy You hands on cooking class taught at Richmond’s Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative (BBK). BBK is a collaborative of over 20 different nonprofits, local leaders, and government agencies in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood, working together to address the myriad needs of their local community. From this mission, BBK started “Family Engagement Night,” a monthly gathering where BBK invites community members to actively engage in the development and education of kids in the program. The goal? Engaging parents, caregivers, and kids while learning healthy and effective ways to strengthen family bonds.
On this drizzly February night, the nutrition lesson – taught in Spanish with translators handy – included strategies for making a healthy plate and eating healthy on an budget. But the real winner of the night was the reason for the massaged kale leaves and messy avocado scooping: a big batch of Kale and Garbanzo Bean Salad, which the kids happily munched on after class. With hands green from veggie processing, even the reluctant veggie-eaters were shouting, “more kale, please!”
Building Blocks for Kids Richmond Collaborative has been working together to provide academic, health, and social support to Iron Triangle residents for over 35 years. Family Engagement Nights are held the first Wednesday of every month at the Center for Health and Healing at 310 9th St, Richmond. For more information, visit www.bbk-richmond.org.