OSU Extension offers the series of nine lessons through the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP). The classes are free and are designed to teach families with children about making healthier choices around nutrition, food preparation, physical activity, meal planning, food safety, and saving money.
“The classes are hands-on and interactive,” explains Amy Habig, OSU Extension program specialist. “We use a dialogue learning approach, so that it’s not just our staff speaking to people … It’s usually more memorable to do rather than just hear. People are building skills to take home with them.”
Everyone has a job to do
When we visited on the night of the third class in Golf Manor, participants looked like they already knew what to do. OSU Extension instructor Fred Paul handed out vegetables that needed to be cut up for the night’s recipe. Volunteers got to work, chopping an onion, carrots, broccoli, and red peppers. Another participant prepared some canned fruit for a taste test – no sugar added versus regular. Someone else cut up watermelon to put into a special pitcher to make flavored water for the class.
Residents appreciate learning, getting to know each other
Diane Gaither-Thompson (pictured at left with Fred Paul) has lived in Golf Manor for 54 years. She thinks the classes are a great way to bring community members together. “It’s been interesting to see people pair up who don’t know each other and work through cooking a meal,” she says. “Everybody likes to eat and most people like to cook and you can always pick up some new ideas and, you know, some information about nutrition and all that.”
Diane considers herself to be a “seasoned” cook, but she is learning some new things in the classes, like safe chopping techniques. “I would recommend these classes to other communities. I like that they are free, they’re not a requirement. So you’re there because you want to be a part of it. I guess most of all I like that it provides new information for old skills. I think it’s a good community builder.”
Gwendolyn Chaesser, a 28-year resident of Golf Manor, is also enjoying the classes. Speaking about Fred, OSU extension class leader, she says, “I am a cook, but he’s teaching me healthy ways. I’m used to my ways, but he’s teaching me healthy ways. And you know when we get older, we need to do the healthy stuff…”
Anastasia, a newer resident of Golf Manor says she likes to cook and signed up for the classes to meet some of her new neighbors and learn new things. “I think Fred provides a lot of cool cooking tips and information,” she says.
More classes may come to Golf Manor
Phyllis Thomas of the WeTHRIVE! in Golf Manor team summed things up at the end of the class series: “The class was amazingly fun with games, family feud quizzes, healthy food choices, collaboration, meeting other community members, and fellowship.”
Phyllis says the Golf Manor WeTHRIVE! team hopes to bring another OSU Extension class series to the community at the end of the summer.