Issue 30

Share our Strength’s Rebecca Beaudoin

Share our Strength’s Rebecca Beaudoin

Share our Strength’s Cooking Matters empowers families at risk of hunger with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make healthy and affordable meals. With the help of our volunteer culinary and nutrition educators, course participants learn how to select nutritious, low-cost ingredients and how to prepare meals in ways that provide the best nourishment possible for their families.

Nutrition instructor Rebecca Beaudoin has been volunteering with Cooking Matters since April of 2011. She has taught many Cooking Matters courses and has led multiple Shopping Matters tours since she came on board. Beaudoin received her degree in dietetics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and completed her dietetic internship at Mayo Medical Center in Rochester, MN.  Her first job was at The Mayo Medical Center, in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Later on, she moved to Georgia and was the Clinical Nutrition Manager and ICU dietitian. While there she also did consulting work for a long term care center and for a hospice center. Beaudoin moved back to Nebraska and worked as a health care inspector for the state, followed by one year in Food Sales at Sysco. Currently, Beaudoin is one of the two registered dietitians at the Stockyards Plaza Hy-Vee.

Beaudoin first became involved with Cooking Matters after she was sought out by the programs volunteer coordinator. After meeting with the coordinator to discuss the organization and observe a class, Beaudoin was hooked. She loved the Cooking Matters program and its mission to end childhood hunger by 2015. She felt that the program followed right in line with the goals of her employer, Hy-Vee, and she loved the idea of being more involved with the     community.

Beaudoin feels that the most valuable lesson she has learned so far by volunteering with Cooking Matters is how to reach kids. She has discovered that when children are truly involved from the ground up, they have more investment into eating healthy. “It’s easier for kids to be excited about eating fruits and vegetables when they invest time and energy into the meal that they have prepared.”

Beaudoin has also learned through her volunteer experiences that it is important to get kids up and moving. She has found that by adding exercise into the nutrition education piece, kids are more excited to learn about nutrition and generally retain the information better. Beaudoin hopes that her participants take home their excitement and the knowledge they have gained from participating in a Cooking Matters course and share it with the rest of their families.

Volunteering with Cooking Matters is important to Beaudoin because she feels it is imperative to be connected to the community you work in. She believes there is huge value in eating healthy meals together as a family and the skills taught in a Cooking Matters course help individuals make that happen. One of Beaudoin’s favorite times during a Cooking Matters series is graduation day. She loves the excitement that fills the room and enjoys the moment when all of the kids receive their graduation items, especially the chef hats.

Beaudoin’s advice to someone who is thinking about volunteering is, “Don’t worry if you’re not an expert in the subject area.” There are many ways for someone to be involved with Cooking Matters and the most important thing is being out there in the community and giving back.

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