Common Threads, Cooking Skills & World Cuisine

by Common Threads
Aug 13, 2012

Common Threads Program Report - August 2012

Group yoga pose
Group yoga pose

As the spring semester wore down into summer, Common Threads was able to collect even more data from our students, parents, and families.  We have found that 3 months after a student completes Cooking Skills and World Cuisine:

  • 87% of our families discuss eating healthy foods at least once per week, 58% discuss it every day
  • 91% of our families are eating dinner together at least 3-5 times per week, 45% 6-7 times per week
  • 80% of students accompany their parents to the grocery at least every other time and 68% of students help prepare the meals at home at least one out of every three days

These are encouraging results that demonstrate the effectiveness of our program. Common Threads knows it needs to continue impacting the lives our students and families, making sure they solidify and continue these positive behaviors after they graduate our Cooking Skills and World Cuisine program.

With this in mind, the Common Threads team strives to ensure that summer, though a quieter time for Common Threads’ Cooking Skills and World Cuisine classes, is an active and engaging season for our students and their families.

Common Threads keeps summer fun, involved, and nutritious by partnering with other community organizations to offer a variety of events for students and families to learn about food, themselves and the world around them.

Twenty of our most dedicated students, whom we lovingly refer to as our “Small Threads”, gathered for a summer cooking and nutrition camp, where they held competitions, learned new nutritional lessons every day, practiced yoga, and helped Common Threads develop a plan to celebrate the upcoming National Food Day.  We feel it is vital to get the input of children into how they would better their own food and communities.

Many other students took part in our garden classes with their parents and siblings.  Three sessions hosted 5-7 families each at our community garden on Chicago’s South Side.  The Common Threads World Garden flourished this summer and yielded loads of fresh produce and meals for our families and community.

Common Threads has also been able to put on a number of fun, one-time events.  Around 70 students and volunteers held a a field day, complete with Olympic style competitions and kickboxing instructions from professional trainers.  Fifty students and family members took advantage of a trip to the Shedd Aquarium, complemented by a sustainable sushi making class put on my local chef and fishmonger, Dirk Fucik.  Trips were also made to the Chicago Children’s Museum, and the Lincoln Park Zoo.  Most recently, we gave our students a chance to give back, as they volunteered and cooked alongside celebrity chefs at an event to raise funds for a longtime organization partner, the Ronald McDonald House.  It has been wonderful getting to see our students put their skills to work.

We are now gearing up for fall and ready to roll out a full slate of Cooking Skills and World Cuisine classes to a whole new batch of students. This coming academic year we will again serve at least 1000 students in our after school courses, with hopefully many more than that in new programs that will make their debut in 2012 and 2013, in four cities across the US.  We count on the wonderful and generous support of Global Giving to provide these opportunities for students to cook, learn, and grow.  Be sure to check back to see what we are up to, and how your donations are funding food, fun, and helping children to discover worlds they never knew existed.

Gus Makes Some Sushi at the Shedd Aquarium!
Gus Makes Some Sushi at the Shedd Aquarium!
Ronald McDonald House Chef Night
Ronald McDonald House Chef Night

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Organization Information

Common Threads

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Kristen Baxter
Development Assistant
Chicago, IL United States

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