EatThis! Summer Camp 2017

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IMG_3151.JPGThere's no place like RecipeHouse in the summer. Our Seed-to-Plate Nutrition Education™ programs don't end on the last day of school, they just turn the page to a new chapter: summer camps! In our themed camps, kids learn how to easily prepare and enjoy healthy foods, and during visits to Hope Farms they see how their favorite new foods are grown and harvested.

In June, our Eat This! camp, inspired by Marco Polo's journey on the Silk Road, explored the culinary cultures of Greece, Italy, India, and China. Campers earned stamps in their passports for making a delicious dish that celebrated each country With fresh produce from Hope Farms, children cooked up Greek salad, Italian homemade pasta with tomatoes and kale, and Chinese stir fry. Times between meals were used to learn about Marco Polo's journey and the different countries and cultures which he visited. With the help of these stories, the kids learned that these unknown food and cultures were not 'weird' but rather 'different' versions of many things they already loved.

Danielle, a camp helper, says "I'm always surprised at how much the kids love the curry we make. It just goes to show how kids can like all different types of foods if they just try them".

Another camp counselor noticed that kids who at the beginning did not care for tomatoes, were eating the Hope Farms cherry tomatoes like candy!

"The favorite day for our Marco Polo campers was definitely the last day in China", says Danielle. Each kid created their own version of stir fry and all of the campers sat in a circle- traditional Chinese family style. This last meal marks the end of camp and represents the family that the campers have created during the week!

At Recipe for Success we make it our mission to change the way children see and appreciate healthy foods, and camps at the RecipeHouse are no different. For more details about upcoming programs, contact justinkouri@recipe4success.org

Hope Farms Gets Thumbs Up

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Hope Farms came alive in May with students from Rodriguez Elementary School on a field trip and picnic visit

Bruce Simon is Volunteer of the Month

Volunteer Coordinator
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Bruce Edit.jpgWhile on summer break from his three year stretch as a substitute teacher, Bruce was in search of a volunteer opportunity in which he could positively impact children's lives. He learned of Recipe for Success Foundation through Volunteer Houston and jumped in feet first, engaging in summer camp, hope farms work days, and office work dedicating over 150 hours this summer alone. In the office, Bruce singlehandedly organized a mailing list for an upcoming event and helped convert hundreds of documents into electronic files. Chief Agricultural Officer, Justin Myers, commented on Bruce's "dedicated and positive presence on the farm throughout the heat of the summer. His calm nature and hard work have allowed the farm to navigate through epic weeding and make a successful transition into preparations for the fall planting season."

No matter the task, Bruce feels that his work serves a purpose. Though he may not always directly interact with children, he understands that the work performed ultimately helps them. Introduced to gardening during childhood through time spent at his grandmother's Houston home, Bruce had access to fresh okra, tomatoes, and corn. It wasn't until he joined the army that he learned the retail cost of these vegetables and understood one of the benefits of growing one's own produce. Since then, Bruce has hoped to have a garden of his own one day. His time spent volunteering during summer camp this year helped develop a new appreciation for a variety of veggies. "Paola has turned me into a kale freak," he adds, commenting that he now substitutes kale where he once ate lettuce. Outside of volunteering and when not acting as a hero in the classroom as a sub, Bruce enjoys nature and particularly likes to take road trips with his two sons.

Chronicle Reports on Hope

Recipe for Success
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Chron image of Justin.jpgNonprofit Recipe for Success brings produce, jobs to Sunnyside as reported by John D. Harden / Houston Chronicle, August 7, 2017

By mid-morning, Justin Myers' hands were covered with dirt, his stubble dripped with sweat and his clothes smelled like the dark soil he was using to plant the upcoming season's crops.

He and six other volunteers arrived in Sunny-side at 6 a.m. Wednesday to tend to the okra, cabbage and peppers planted through winter and spring and to prepare for the farm's first autumn production. <<Read the entire article.>>

The Students of Monarch School and Institute are our July Volunteer Stars!

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In late 2016, Montia Murray, Professional Educator at The Monarch School and Institute, contacted Recipe for Success Foundation, hoping to form a partnership in the hopes of establishing an opportunity to introduce the school's adult learners to the practice of serving others. Our office welcomed the new year and smiling faces of a select group of Monarch students who visited RecipeHouse to serve as office angels. These energetic individuals assisted with event mailings, press kit assembly, and inventory updates. It was always a treat to welcome their enthusiasm into an otherwise quiet and standard office day; their efforts helped improve office efficiency and decreased turnaround time for a mass event mailing.

Students at the Monarch School and Institute are diagnosed with neurological differences, primarily Autism. The program works on a Four Core Goal model that includes Self-awareness/Self-Regulation, Relationship Development, Executive Functioning, and Professional Competence. Montia felt the Office Angel opportunity matched with the program's four core goals and the students were "able to practice all of their goals while making a meaningful contribution to the community."

Thank you to the students of Monarch School and Institute for dedicating your time to help us combat childhood obesity. We hope to see you in the fall!

Chef Justin featured in Eating Well May/June 2017

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The editorial team at Eating Well are ramping up their veggie intake and challenging each other in VegOut! this month. They praise the work of Recipe for Success in their most recent publication and feature Chef Justin Kouri, along with his recipe that gives a spin to the "humble" radish. Get out your mixing bowl and give Chef Justin's Grilled Green Beans with Watermelon-Radish Salsa a try!

Eating Well May:June 2017.pdf

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Meet Mary Goodman: June Volunteer of the Month

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IMG_0691.JPGSince joining the volunteer team, Mary has lent her time and talents helping to improve our foundation's office systems, increasing our everyday efficiency. Whether its data entry, research, document scanning, or stuffing and sealing event invitations, Mary offers her eagle eye and sharp wit to each project and contributes solutions to make a process better. "I really enjoy my work as an office angel," she says, "The work is not complicated...I find it very satisfying and the effort is always appreciated."

Born a first generation American in Newark, the most populated city in New Jersey, Mary embraced the city life, later living in Milwaukee and eventually settling in Houston. While working toward her Masters in Science at the University of Houston, her student office also served as an aquaponics garden. A city girl at heart, Mary was unfamiliar with farming and gardening. However, her close proximity to the garden peaked her interest in urban agriculture, leading her to experiment with growing oyster mushrooms in recycled coffee grounds. Mary's interest in urban agriculture lasted long after earning her Master of Science. While feeding her fascination with hours of research at the public library and online, she learned about Hope Farms. She was immediately enticed by the concept of increasing access to local fresh produce within identified Houston food deserts and training veterans as future urban farmers. "I knew I wanted to be a part of [an] organization that had the vision to do something like that!"

Having earned two undergraduate degrees and two masters degrees, Mary considers herself a "lifelong learner". She continues to nurture her curiosity about urban farming, setting up a small culinary garden at her 1930s Hyde Park home where she and her husband, Harvey, reside. "This is a real learning curve for me," Mary says about their front lawn converted to an edible garden that produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, including kumquats, apples, kale, and a variety of herbs all growing from raised or vertical beds. She and her husband now enjoy the benefits of a personal produce section just a few steps away from their kitchen and plan to create an indoor hydroponics space to allow for annual access to their favorite leafy greens.

Outside of developing her green thumb, Mary presently works as a psychiatric consultant. Several years in the healthcare industry including ten years working in healthcare regulatory compliance and risk management have helped her develop strong analytical and problem solving skills that carry over to her work as an office angel at RecipeHouse. Mary does not limit herself to weekly visits at the office but has assisted in event operations at our 2017 Dress for Dinner at Neiman Marcus and helped with event set up and décor for the 2017 Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet in April. In the future, she hopes to dedicate some time at Hope Farms, appreciating that the organization offers a variety of ways to contribute. "No matter what you volunteer to do, whether it is office tasks or working on glamorous fund raising galas, the staff always makes you feel your contribution is needed and appreciated. It just plain feels good to spend your time there."

It feels good to have you on board our volunteer team, Mary. Thank you for your dedication!

Tiffany Mathews is Volunteer of the Month!

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Tiffany.jpgWe are thrilled to feature Tiffany Mathews as our May Volunteer of the Month. Since 2014, Tiffany has brought her cheerful personality to summer camp and Girl Scout classes, sharing her love for cooking acquired at age ten. "A lot of my family's social interaction took place in the kitchen," she recalls. And because her mother didn't like cooking, learning and enjoying how to cook was a natural step for Tiffany. Today, she considers one of her specialties mac n cheese, made predominately with cheddar and is "currently working on a recipe that has no processed cheese."

A Missouri native, Tiffany joined her two older sisters in Texas nearly eight years ago after graduating from University of Pittsburg. She is currently working a second degree in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Houston. Once she conquers the GRE, Tiffany will roll these undergrad credits toward a Masters in Dietetics. Once gradated, Tiffany hopes to relocate once again, possibly to Seattle. With several years of teaching experience, including six years as a tutor for HISD, Tiffany currently does administrative work for Jazz Education, a non-profit that introduces jazz music to children, and loves how the organization empowers young members of the community.

Despite her full plate and busy schedule, Tiffany continues to volunteer for Recipe for Success Foundation, building relationships with new and returning campers. One of her favorite memories occurred during her first year volunteering at summer camp when the campers were charged with producing a video for a granola recipe they'd created. One camper was inventive enough to write a parody to a familiar commercial jingle and Tiffany remembers being particularly impressed with this youth's aptitude and imagination.

Recipe for Success feels fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented volunteer onboard. Paola Tello, Volunteer Coordinator, adds "Tiffany's dedication to our mission has been outstanding...Her ability to jump right into any situation makes her an exemplary volunteer, but Tiffany's genuine love for teaching children is what makes her a star. I love seeing how children feel at ease with her while cooking and sharing stories."

We appreciate all that you do for Recipe for Success Foundation and the smallest members of our community. Thank you, Tiffany!

Cavnar a Top Mom

Recipe for Success
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Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 10.22.35 AM.pngThe May issue of Family Circle Magazine featured Recipe for Success Founder, Gracie Cavnar as one of the country's 20 Most Influential Moms in recognition for her work. Follow this link for the online version. Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 10.22.59 AM.png

Top Chefs Cook a $2,500 Dinner

Recipe for Success
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0207_RecipeForSuccessDinner_041917_MCW.jpgPaperCity Social Columnist Shelby Hodge reports: "Houston's Top Chefs Cook a $2,500 Dinner for a Fancy Crowd -- and a Beloved Foodie Charity Force Wins For the second annual "Delicious Alchemy" evening, Recipe for Success founder Gracie Cavnar rounded up a stable of the city's top toques to create an unforgettable meal for an audience of 101." Read the whole story here. OR check out event coverage from The Houston Chronicle and CultureMap

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