MEDIA ADVISORY: Peabody students help teach culinary skills to teens

What if kids taught their parents to eat fruits and vegetables instead of the other way around? A program that flips traditional family dynamics to incorporate healthy eating habits into homes culminates in an April 28 event where teen participants cook for their families and caregivers.

The 12-week culinary skills program, accompanying health fairs and final fiesta mark a collaboration between students in a human and organizational development (HOD) course at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development; the Pink and Dude Chefs Program; YMCA Community Action Project (Y-CAP); and Preston Taylor Boys and Girls Clubs in Nashville. This program has been funded by a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.

The family fiesta begins at 6 p.m. at the East Nashville YMCA.

Basic food preparation skills and meal planning are crucial to the development of healthy eating habits and critical for teens growing up in a state with a high obesity rate, according to Sharon Shields, associate dean of professional education and instructor of the HOD 3221 course. Master’s degree students teach culinary skills and will assist Carol Nixon, senior research associate, in evaluating the effectiveness of the program.

The program has served dozens of middle school girls and boys at three Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA) after school program sites in the past two years. More than 95 percent of the student participants are economically disadvantaged.

What: Family Fiesta

When: April 28, 2016 at 6 p.m.

Where: East Nashville YMCA Y-CAP program

Who: Middle schoolers, their families and students from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development