Spring Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Coordinator
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Banquet Volunteers.jpgIt's Event Frenzy! The foundation is ready for spring with a host of fun events and festivals you will not want to miss. Hop right into the action by volunteering at one or all of these delicious occasions celebrating food and community.

Hope Farms Work Day, Friday, April 6, flexible shifts starting at 8:30 a.m.

Help us prepare our farm for Earth Day weekend. There is much to do from helping to build our Children's Garden, to grounds clean up, to painting! Sign Up within our Hope Farms work day opportunity!

Earth Day Festival, Saturday, April 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year marks our first annual Earth Day Festival at Hope Farms. The festival is a a free community event offering family friendly activities including farm tours, art & crafts, upcycle stations, and goodies from local Houston vendors. Thank you for your interest in helping to make our Earth Day Festival a success - sign up HERE!

Chefs in the Field, Sunday, April 22, 5:30 p.m.

This is the ground-breaking dinner within our new quarterly Chefs in the Field event series to take place at Hope Farms. The dinners will host 50 guests who will dine on a 3-course meal crafted by 3 local Houston chefs. Volunteers will help with set up logistics and event check in. Sign up!

Delicious Alchemy: The Banquet, Monday, May 7, 2018

Please join us for the third annual Banquet, to benefit Recipe for Success Foundation's programming. This exquisite seated dinner for 100 fortunate guests raises 20% of the Foundation's annual budget while celebrating the community of a shared meal. It will be the most extraordinary dinner party that you have ever attended, featuring 10 splendid courses, each prepared by a different celebrity chef and matched with award-winning wines--the meal of a lifetime. We're recruiting now for all aspects of event logistics including pre-event set up, check in, break down, and more. Spaces are limited so sign up today!

Robin Rawles is our March Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer Coordinator
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We are happy to feature Robin Rawles as our March Volunteer of the Month who has devoted her time in the classroom as a Seed to Plate Nutrition Education ™ SWAT Member for two years. The program appealed to Robin, who, outside of her volunteer service, works with older students in various subjects. To Robin, the foundation's educational program is the "embodiment of [the] mission statement". She enjoys working with Seed to Plate Nutrition Education ™ instructors, Will Isbel and Lynsey Beat, boasting that they "are two of the most knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and committed educators I have ever encountered. It is a joy to learn from them and to see the children learning." One of Robin's favorite memories created while volunteering in the classroom is of a conversation with a first-grader who paused his playtime during recess to ask about the work she was doing in the school garden. For Robin, this child's curiosity proves how impactful the program is for all children, event those who are not directly involved.

The Recipe for Success team is thankful of the impact Robin has in helping us change "the way our children understand, appreciate, and eat their food." Thank you, Robin!

Dress For Dinner is a Wrap

James Brock
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D4D for blog.jpgWhat an evening it was. Guests assembled at Neiman Marcus on February 28 to meet Lela Rose, enjoy cocktails and a fashion show, and support our programs. Our VIPs ended the evening in Mariposa restaurant, where they dined on tomato tartare, sous-vide halibut, and panna cotta, a three-course meal created by A Fare Extraordinaire's executive chef, Ryan Bouillet.

candids-43.jpgLela Rose loves food and entertaining, so she was an ideal partner for Dress For Dinner. Her enthusiasm was evident throughout the evening, and she spent a lot of time conversing with our guests, whose generous support allowed us to raise more than $30,000, all of which will go toward funding our missions. Houston Chronicle Fashion Editor, Joy Sewing began the show with an interview of Rose and then we were treated to a look at her spring collection, which met with enthusiastic applause.

candids-27.jpgCo-chairs Ally Shell-van Koolwijk and Jeff Shell put on a great show, and spoke with pasion about the importance of teaching children how to eat well. Some of our notable guests included Karen Lerner, original founder of A Fare Extraordinaire, and the catering firm's current owner, Rachael Volz and her husband, Jason; Diane Lokey Farb; Dr. Wissam Khan and Fatema Khan (in photo); Dr. Sippi Khurana and Ajay Khurana; Curry Glassell and her son, Nathan Glassell; Kimberly Miller and Carolyn Tanner; Tammie and Andy Johnson; BJ and Bob Shell; Stacey and Al Lindseth; Sheree and Norman Frede; Jennifer Swallen and Melissa Sugulas; Roz Pactor; and Marsha Montemayor.

IMG_0525.jpegWe were blown away by Neimans' support--even transforming a major window in honor of Hope Farms.

Read some of our fabulous media coverage in PaperCity, The Houston Chronicle and My Red Glasses. Click here for our own post event release, and make plans to Dress For DInner in 2019!

Come See for Yourself!

Recipe for Success
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Hope Farm tour.jpgOn a brisk February weekend, James Brock invited a group of people to come out to Hope Farms, to see what our team at Recipe for Success Foundation is doing there and to meet Justin Myers, our Chief Agricultural Officer and head farmer. The Mission Continues was busy arranging beds and doing other work, the hawk was flying overhead, and customers were buying vegetables from our farm stand. It was a good day. Now it's your turn to see Hope Farms HTX -- contact James-at-recipe4success.org and he'll share details about the next outing.

Beauty from Within

Recipe for Success
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Beauty from within.jpgExcited to partner with instaglamhouston in thier Instagram #VegOut2018 CampaignBecause beauty really starts from within, they have teamed up with us to help spread the word of the importance of nutrition and to let you all see just how they are doing it here in Houston. Follow them on stagram to keep up: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bfd-jQ9HXY4/

Meet Mereen Jacob, our February Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer Coordinator
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Mereen.jpgOver the past year, Mereen has donated her time, supporting the foundation's mission through her work in the office and schools, during Girl Scout workshops, and at special events. Each opportunity for Mereen to volunteer is a time when we're able to see her passion for the organization through her dedication and cheerful disposition. "Her warmth and generosity to our students has been a breathe of fresh air," says Paola Tello, Culinary Director, "It is with much gratitude that I nominate Mereen for volunteer of the month."

After graduating from the University of Houston with a BS in Human Nutrition and Foods and working in various healthcare positions, Mereen began graduate school at Texas Woman's University. Her Masters in Nutrition courses motivated her to look for opportunities to volunteer in nutrition related fields. This search led her to Recipe for Success and upon learning more about our mission, she was "astonished and proud of the success generated by the dedicated people of this organization." Initially, Mereen's busy school and work schedule prevented her from immediately jumping into open volunteer opportunities, but she stayed abreast of the organization's current events. Once her schedule allowed for it, she jumped in feet first.

Currently on the job hunt, Mereen fills her free time with volunteer work not only at Recipe for Success but also within the nutrition department at Houston Methodist Hospital where she helps with ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery), a research study to determine if certain forms of nutrition or nutritional supplementation could improve patients' post-surgical recovery time. She is active at her church, St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, serving as a Sunday school teacher and each year she serves as the Team Captain of Team Footsteps of Faith for The Leukemia and Lymphomas Society's Light the Night Walk in memory of her father who passed after a battle with Multiple Myeloma.

Mereen's love for working with children and cooking keep her connected to Recipe for Success. Her favorite memory is volunteering as a Recipe House Ambassador for Girl Scouts and seeing the scouts learn about food and teamwork in a positive environment.

When asked what kept her volunteering with the foundation, Mereen answered, "Honestly? It's the children we are able to positively impact. During my final exit course for graduate school, I completed my research paper over the topic of childhood obesity and nutrition education. The question I presented was 'Does incorporating an interventional nutrition education program in schools for children provide improvements in eating habits and decrease risk of chronic diseases in adulthood?'. Basically, I was attempting to find evidence that what we do within our community through Recipe for Success, is beneficial for children in the present and future. Guess what the data said? It is beneficial. Truthfully though, I didn't need a bunch of data to prove that. I can see it in these children - in their smiles when they learn to chop an onion, in their eyes when [they] glimmer after tasting an eggplant taco and in their responses when they're eager to learn more about new cuisines! I keep volunteering because I love assisting in that experience."

Thank you, Mereen!

James Brock in the House

Recipe for Success
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James Brock.jpegJames Brock has joined us as Director of Advancement, overseeing media relations, special events production and donor cultivation.

Brock has held editorial positions with print and broadcast news organizations around the world, including writing and editing roles in New York, Paris, Dubai, and Houston. His reporting and writing has encompassed a wide variety of subjects, including profiles of Federico Fellini, Anthony Bourdain, and Tom Ford, food and wine and other culinary matters, the arts and culture, and personal finance and investing.

"I have long admired the work done by Recipe For Success - in fact, not long after moving to Houston, in 2013, I was urged by someone close to me to volunteer for the organization - and so many of my passions, interests, and skills dovetail with what it does," Brock said. "I am looking forward to helping take Recipe for Success even further and changing the lives of young people for the better," Brock said.

Brock has, in addition to his journalism career, worked in the kitchens of restaurants in Brooklyn, Spain, Germany, and Paris, produced an array of special events celebrating the shared meal, and in 2014 founded The Brockhaus, a culinary think tank and moveable dining club, which has welcomed guests to pop-up events in Houston and Dallas and on Nantucket.

"Recruiting donors to support our work and producing successful special events are both like telling a wonderful story that everyone wants to be in. Creating that story, with both attention to detail and sensitivity to guest experience is critical. So we are delighted to welcome James, a consummate storyteller, passionate foodie and experience-magician to our team," says Recipe for Success founder and CEO, Gracie Cavnar.

Welcome James!

KHOU-TV Visits RecipeHouse

Volunteer Coordinator
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KHOU says RFS Stands for Houston.jpgKHOU anchor Ron Trevino recently brought his crew to RecipeHouse, where students from Post Oak High School were on a culinary adventure. According to Trevino, Recipe For Success Foundation is trying fight childhood obesity by making healthy food fun, tasty, affordable and easy.

At the program's headquarters and kitchen in the Montrose area, students from Post Oak High School received a lesson in making healthy food choices. A chef taught them how to cook vegetable dumplings.

"I think I'll be able to cook on my own instead of going to eat ramen for the four years I'll be in college," says Salvador Rivera, a senior at Post Oak High.

Recipe For Success tries to change the way kids look at food.

"There are so many healthy foods that a lot of people don't know about and they taste really good," says student Emaya White.

The founder of Recipe For Success is Gracie Cavnar. A former architect who, years ago, decided to do something to improve eating habits of children.

"I got involved in getting vending machines out of elementary schools. In that process, I discovered this obesity epidemic," says Cavnar.

The kids are learning from chefs, teachers and even gardeners, as they're actually growing food as well. A number of area school districts are using the curriculum. The program that started in Houston has expanded to other cities across the country.

"It makes me feel really good to see the extraordinary impact we have had on so many people, changing lives for the better," says Cavnar.

The goal is to inspire a whole culture of healthy eating.

(Courtesy of Ron Trevino, KHOU-TV, January 22, 2018)

Watch the entire clip HERE.

Allison Hand is the January Volunteer of the Month!

Volunteer Coordinator
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Allison.jpgAllison joined the Recipe for Success Team four years ago as a member of our Seed-to-Plate SWAT team. Passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle for herself, Allison's desire to encourage healthy eating habits in children initially drew her to the organization. "I was excited about being a part of a mission to help reduce childhood obesity," she says, remembering a time when she helped the students harvest produce they had planted in the school gardens. "To see the excitement and smiles on their faces, seeing their work come to fruition, was very exciting to me. And to know they were going to eventually eat the food that they would cook was even more extraordinary!"

These days, Allison maintains a steady presence in the foundation's office, performing a variety of administrative tasks. Although many days Allison is handed a tedious task, she continues to return to the office week after week. Without her help, our small team would be overwhelmed. But because Allison both enjoys the office environment and knows her work is ultimately contributing to the foundation's mission, she continues to volunteer and we are grateful.

Allison is a full-time volunteer, donating her time five days a week to not only Recipe for Success but also Dress for Success and Parkway Place. When she's not busy serving others, you'll find Allison at the theater, catching the latest new release at the movies, or spending time with friends. In line with her passion for a healthy lifestyle, Allison spends time preparing and cooking meals for herself, as well as enjoying yoga five times a week.

The Recipe for Success Team is fortunate to have such a dedicated volunteer that also embodies so much of what we advocate for within the community. Thank you, Allison, for all that you do!

Meet T'Liza Kiel: 2017 Volunteer of the Year!

Volunteer Coordinator
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T'liza farm.jpgWe are excited and honored to name T'Liza Kiel the 2017 Volunteer of the Year for Recipe for Success Foundation. T'Liza connected with Recipe for Success Foundation through her work at Hope Farms with The Mission Continues 4th Platoon. T'Liza immediately connected with the Sunnyside community, which reminded her of La Marque, Texas, her hometown. Sunnyside's similarity to La Marque, as well as the fact that Hope Farms allows access to fresh produce to an area identified as a food desert, increased the significance of her service. As the Veterans Behavioral Health Director for Mental Health America of Greater Houston, T'Liza recognizes the positive effects fresh produce has on physical and mental well-being. Because the subject of mental health still carries a stigma, her work on the farm can serve as a conduit to open conversations with peers and community members concerning how a healthy diet positively influences mental health. For T'Liza, the urban farm exists as "a world of impact in one place".

In 2016, The Mission Continues Platoon learned their team could help make a big impact at Hope Farms. Not knowing the farm wasn't in full production, T'Liza was surprised upon her first visit to the farm to see an open field without crops. She remembers looking at Chief Agricultural Officer, Justin Myers, asking, "Where's the farm?" When he responded, "with that big Justin grin...'You're looking at it' ", T'Liza then understood their team truly had the opportunity to make an impact. She appropriately named their first service project "Breaking Ground". Since then, T'Liza and her team have watched the farm grow to fully operational with Saturday Farmers Markets, cooking demonstrations, and a weekly farm share program.

Aside from the good feelings derived from her service on the farm, T'Liza continues to volunteer because if organizations such as The Mission Continues and Recipe for Success Foundation existed during her childhood, it would have positively affected her life. "Volunteering is a humbling experience and since I am no longer in the Military, this is my continued way to serve my community," she says.

Outside of volunteering, this busy full time working mom of a three year old also cares for her sixteen year old sister and amazingly still finds time to nurture her passion, writing. "I aspire to be a bestselling author one day!" She also enjoys completing home projects with her husband of five years including starting their own home garden.

On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, Recipe for Success Foundation will honor T'Liza for her service to the foundation. As Justin Myers says, her "genuine enthusiasm and passion for service and her work with Hope Farms made a tremendous impact in mobilizing and uniting her fellow The Mission Continues volunteers. She first came to the farm when it was a mere field and over the course the year, she played a critical role in helping to shape and build the farm into the reality of today. Her positivity and commitment to the farm and mission of Recipe for Success as left an everlasting and valuable impact."

Thank you, T'Liza!

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