Counselors’ Testimonials (Fall 2020)

Laura Parkinson

Boston University Class of 2021

Health Science Major and Human Physiology Minor

Real Kids Real Food/Eat to Thrive Intern 

 

Real Kids Real Food Counselor Ages 3-6 In the Fall of 2020

This fall I had the opportunity to intern at Real Kids Real Food/Eat to Thrive with Betsy Bragg as a virtual Real Kids Real Food counselor. I gained valuable experience creating fun, interactive lesson plans for children age 3-6 and executing them via zoom. Working with this specific age group provided me with the unique challenge of taking complicated information about health, nutrition and physiology and breaking down the concepts and delivering them to young children and their families who often had little previous knowledge of the topics. I feel as if this skill in particular will be incredibly applicable to my future career as I am currently in the process of applying to graduate school to become a sports physiotherapist. I feel as if beginning to practice the task of breaking down large concepts that had been taught to me in a university setting and delivering them to people of all ages and educational backgrounds can be incredibly applicable to a number of future career paths for anyone wishing to work in health care or in education. This internship allowed me to practice my communication skills as well as my delivery of information. Working with younger children with many different styles of learning created a fast-paced environment that challenged me to think quickly on my feet and come up with multiple different ways of explaining the same concept to suit different individuals.

In addition to creating and delivering lesson plans, I was also responsible for assisting Besty with the accounting for Real Kids Real Food. Real Kids Real Food is an incredible program that provides all of the ingredients for the different recipes that we make every week for families with food insecurity to allow for full participation of all individuals. This semester, since we delivered the classes online via zoom, we ordered ingredients to families around the country every week throughout the course. I was responsible for assisting Betsy with balancing the cheque books and looking over the bank statements for these orders.

For Eat to Thrive, I worked primarily on the administrative side, helping with marketing for the class. I assisted Betsy with making newsletters advertising various events and guest speakers. I also helped create content to reach out to different organizations regarding potential partnerships and collaborations. Additionally, on the administrative side of Real Kids Real Food I helped create content to recruit more children to the program. Working with Betsy at Real Kids Real Food/Eat to Thrive was an amazing experience. As interns, we were allowed to attend the Eat to Thrive classes to increase our personal knowledge about food, nutrition and holistic well being which helped to add to the incredible amount I learned this semester. Betsy is truly the most kind and genuine person and her passion for helping others is incredibly inspiring. I am grateful for my time at Real Kids Real Food/Eat to Thrive as I know the skills I have developed here will help me greatly with many of my future endeavors.

 

 

Lydia Carlson

Eat To Thrive Intern

 

Real Kids Real Food Counselor Ages 3-6 In the Fall of 2020

Getting to participate in the Eat to Thrive course has been an unexpected benefit of completing my internship with Betsy. In the past ten weeks I have learned so much about holistic health and well-being, including components that I would not have considered.

I learned that I can take an active role in my health and make changes, and I was able to make the change of stopping my meat consumption. I also got to know so many wonderful people who I am happy to have met! I plan to continue making the changes that I have learned about and continue to take an active role in my own health!

Katerina(Kate) Doleckova

Real Kids Real Food Counselor Ages 7-11 In the Fall of 2020

In the fall of 2020, I interned at the Real Kids Real Food and the Eat to Thrive programs with Betsy Bragg. Primarily, I was one of the counselors for the 7-11 year old program and I also helped with administration and coordination of the Eat to Thrive program.

Being a counselor for the Real Kids Real Food program was so much fun. The kids were amazing and they participated so much; this motivated me to make the programs for them even more engaging, interesting, and fun. I mainly prepared the slides and plans for each workshop and I also really enjoyed demonstrating the recipes for the kids. We played many games and did a lot of activities, we also learned about nutrition and mindfulness. But what I believe the kids loved the most was learning to make recipes each week. I was very passionate about teaching the kids how to lead healthy lifestyles. For the Eat to Thrive program, I mainly helped with coordination and sometimes put together the workshop syllabi. I was more involved with the Real Kids Real Food program.

This internship has taught me so much and gave me a very valuable experience. I have become more confident speaking to other people and taking a lead during the workshops. Moreover, I had some experience with kids in the past, but working with children over zoom was challenging. There is so much room to be creative and make the program engaging in Zoom. I also think that I have improved in professional communication, which is so important in the professional world.

Betsy has been such an amazing mentor. She is very kind, understanding, and passionate about the work she does. I would recommend this experience to anybody who is interested in a healthy lifestyle and loves working with children!  I would also recommend all children to join this inspiring program.

Solomon McBride

Real Kids Real Food Counselor Ages 13-18 In the Fall of 2020

Working as a health counselor for RKRF, engaging teens with honest conversations about health and environmental sustainability, was a transformative experience. As a health science major, I’ve always criticized a fee-for-service system, as it completely disregards preventative care, as it depended on people to become ill to create profits. When considering preventative care, health education is critical, serving as a tool to provide people with the agency to make informed decisions regarding their health. Betsy has created an amazing and comprehensive program with great intentions, one of which being engaging teens as they learn and develop healthy habits at such a critical age of knowledge development and habit formation. Having the opportunity to serve as a counselor, while also incorporating conversations about climate justice, gave us the opportunity to have honest conversations about race, intersectionality, and politics which are embedded in these conversations. This was an opportunity that I won’t forget, and while I hope the youth received a lot from this program, I can surely say I did.

 

Jacke Wang

Real Kids Real Food Counselor Ages 13-18 In the Fall of 2020

I have enjoyed the fun of both teaching kids and learning in the 9-week program. I have studied physiology, environment, justice, and health separately in the field of biology, environmental science, politics, and public policy. However, it is now until this class that I link everything together. And I think we need more people understanding the intersectionality of these concepts and fields. We should recognize both how climate change is happening on a grand level, and how we can eat greener to lower carbon footprint on a micro level.

I am really glad to make any contribution in the green movement. I also really enjoy working with other counselors in our climate justice team. Selena always shares good ideas about Veganism; Solomon has an impressive understanding of public health; Divam has deep connection with the teenagers we work with and really explains every concept neatly. It is very fortunate to work in such a team and I was fortunate to learn to organize meetings and check in with everyone’s work. By the end of the class, our participants told us about their real-life transformation in eating less meat, less fat, and less sugar. I feel genuinely happy and fulfilled the moment I heard those words.

Selena Latzke

Real Kids Real Food Counselor Ages 13-18 In the Fall of 2020

I have learned so much by being a part of this ETT class, not only from the speakers, but from the stories and experiences shared by others in the class, in addition to learning a lot about myself. It helped me to discover how dedicated I can be towards improving my health and lifestyle, as well as taught me that I need to be patient. I’d say my biggest takeaway overall was that health is a lifelong journey, as it can take several years to transform physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but each step is so worth it.

I have been struggling with a few chronic illnesses and although they are not technically lethal, they are at times detrimental to my well being, which of course severely heightens my stress and in turn exacerbates my illnesses. Through this program, I have further realized the connections between mind, body, and spirit, learning about new ways to practice mindfulness and just how helpful that can be.

I have been angry and distrustful at doctors for only focusing on symptom management rather than holistic approaches and prevention, but this program has given me an abundance of information regarding traditional and ancient medicine and wisdom that I can finally trust and believe in. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the power of raw foods and sprouts, functional medicine testing, meridians and chakras, and that I am my own doctor and master of my own destiny. It is never too early or too late to begin your healing journey.

I am certain that by applying what I have learned here and by being gentle and patient with myself, I can begin to heal my body entirely while protecting myself against additional issues in the future.

Thank you, ETT!

Divam Gupta

Real Kids Real Food Counselor Ages 13-18 In the Fall of 2020

I always thought of eating healthy as a hard lifestyle that I could never do, especially at my present age of 16. I never knew all the complete benefits of it either. Before I started this program I didn’t know how to start having a healthier lifestyle. The first steps I learned were eating better, exercising more, and being stress-free. As a teenager, I never knew how to actually incorporate this in my daily life. That is why I think that Real Kids Real Food is so beneficial to me as an intern and also for the other kids. Knowing more information about a plant-based diet, what is actually in the food I eat, and overall facts on the world that we live in, was exciting to learn.

Each week when I prepared for the lesson plan I grew even more excited to do it; week after week because being healthy became fun. Another reason I loved interning at this program is because of the real reactions that the kids had about how the choices they made affected the environment, and the climate justice problems happening in the world. The deep and profound discussions we had about how we can minimize the issues that are happening were very unique and informative.
Overall my whole experience has been great because I had the opportunity to help others and teach myself more knowledge about having a proper lifestyle and social justice.

 

 

Counselors' Testimonials (Summer 2020)

 

Spandana Shankara

Brandeis University Class of 2023

Economics & Applied Mathematics Major

Real Kids Real Food/ Eat to Thrive Intern

Real Kids Real Food Camp Counselor Ages 12 – 18 In the summer of 2020

I interned at Real Kids Real Food and Eat to Thrive with Betsy. For Real Kids Real Food, I worked on the first virtual summer camp where I gained valuable experience in creating lesson plans tailored to 12 – 18-year-olds about a healthy lifestyle. For Eat to Thrive, I worked primarily on the administrative side, learning about what it takes to run a business and how to efficiently run an online class. Working with a specific age group for the Real Kids Real Food summer camp helped me improve on my communication skills as I learned how to convey information to a specific group of people in a creative manner. I learned how to effectively communicate with people through video calls as well as on the phone and this greatly improved my ability to communicate with people virtually. In addition, creating lesson plans for this camp allowed me to be creative. It was a lot of fun working with the kids and they really enjoyed the lessons geared towards helping them live a healthy lifestyle with food presentations, mediation, and exercise. What helped the kids learn this information was showing them a practical way of improving their lifestyles.

The administrative side of Eat to Thrive was particularly interesting to me as that is what I hope to do more of in the future. With Constant Contact, I learned about how to market classes properly to a particular audience. I also prepared agendas and talked to guest speakers for the Eat to Thrive class which allowed me to improve on my communication and organizational skills. Working with Besty was an amazing experience. Betsy is a wonderful mentor who is a passionate, kind, and genuine person. She truly cares about the participants in her classes as well as all of her interns. I am very grateful for this internship experience as it allowed me to develop skills that are transferable to my future endeavors and projects.

Asanya Wawlagala

Brandeis University Class of 2023

Health, Science, Society and Policy (HSSP) & Biology Major

Real Kids Real Food Intern

Real Kids Real Food Counselor Ages 3-6 In the summer of 2020

I interned with Betsy as part of the Eat to Thrive/Real Kids Real Food virtual summer program. I worked with the 3-6 group, which can be a tricky group to work with; however, I learned that the key to success for online camps is to engage the children busy with different activities throughout the hour. The program also taught me how to make personal lifestyle choices to implement more healthy practices and how to effectively teach that to these young children.

Every week we would make lesson plans and this taught me how to organize my thoughts into one page summaries of what was going to happen in the class and it also helped to communicate our goals to the parents. My favorite part of the internship was teaching the children. The group we had was a lively bunch, and keeping them attentive for an hour was something that took time and patience. When working with young children, you have to be flexible and be able to adapt on the fly.

We taught the children a range of educational topics, such as about the life cycles of plants which they implemented by planting veggies, the water cycle, fruits and vegetables and much more. We had to make sure the lessons were understandable (age appropriate) and enjoyable for young children. My Co-Counselor and I worked hard on refining the lesson plan to make that happen. Overall, the children had an enjoyable time in the class and they would always tell about the fun they had and how they learned so much. There were five components to our lesson plan: the implementation of the healthy living objective, exercise, meditation, review of old material, and recipe demonstration. The children prepared the recipe alongside or after the video with their parents. This made them feel like a real chef and incorporated them and their parents more into the process of learning about healthy lifestyles.

Another skill I learned more about was marketing and promotion. I would help to create letters and newsletter through Constant Contact software. This allowed me to be creative and it also allowed me to see the promotional and marketing side of an organization. I also made a lot of phone calls to local daycares and preschools in order to enroll more children to join the class. In order to run a successful class, you have to be able to market yourself and the product successfully and Betsy Bragg helped to show us that and how to use the Constant Contact software to help make sure the promotional and marketing end was a success.

Betsy Bragg was a phenomenal director and I learned a lot from her. She was dedicated to helping others and showed so much kindness and patience when working with me to complete a task. She was a great person to work with and helped me gain self confidence and teach me more about healthy living that I will take with me even after I leave this position. I have learned so much in my time at this internship from professional skills to lifestyle improvement and I am very thankful for it all.

Maunika Reddy

Boston University

Class of 2021 Health Science Major

Real Kids Real Food/ Eat to Thrive Intern

 

Real Kids Real Food Camp Counselor Ages 3 – 6 Summer of 2020

In the summer of 2020, I interned at Real Kids Real Food and Eat to Thrive with Betsy Bragg. For Real Kids Real Food, I worked on the first virtual summer camp where I was one of the counselors for the 3-6 age group. For Eat to Thrive, I mainly did administrative work to further help Eat to Thrive run smoothly.

Real Kids Real Food summer camp was such a valuable experience. I was able to work on my teamwork and communication skills. Since this camp was all online, I also improved my communication skills through Zoom and over the phone. Furthermore, for my group, I helped create lesson plans that were tailored for the three to six-year-olds. The boundless energy of these kids always made everything more fun. We played games, did exercises, led meditations, and presented food demonstrations while the kids made the recipes at home. Participating in Eat to Thrive classes aided us in teaching the children how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

By being involved in the administrative side of Eat to Thrive, I worked one on one with Betsy and learned what it takes to run a business. I helped with Constant Contact newsletter, which is where I learned how to market the classes to a specific audience. During the classes, I would record any questions that were not answered and make sure that Betsy would email the students the answers. I was also the technical assistant for some of the virtual classes, in which I was involved in admitting the students and guest speakers into the class, presenting any videos or slideshows, and uploading the recordings into Youtube. I also led breakout room discussions. Eat to Thrive was educational and helped me improve my communication, organizational, and teamwork skills.

This was a wonderful experience. Betsy is a great mentor who is passionate about what she is doing. She not only cares so much about her students but for the interns as well. Her dedication and devotion made this a memorable experience. This internship is something that I will always value, and will impact what I do in the future.