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Healthy Eating Peer Educator interns will take skills learned in gardens to after school programs in the community this fall. Photo courtesy of Ceres Community Project

   Twelve high school students are working in the Ceres Community Project gardens and kitchens over the summer while learning about nutrition. By the end of the summer, they’ll develop their own nutrition classes for kids. The Healthy Eating Peer Educator program is a three-year pilot project funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
  “For years, we have wanted to find a way to have our youth volunteers share their knowledge about healthy eating,” said Sara McCamant, internship program manager. “This internship is a great opportunity for them to gain real-life experience, while learning about healthy eating and teaching.”
  The internship is a 10-week summer intensive. The interns spend their time taking classes, creating their own nutrition curriculum, attending farm tours and working in the Ceres Community Project kitchens and gardens. The program includes training on food systems, nutrition, gardening and cooking. In the fall, the interns teach out in the community to younger kids about healthy eating.   
  Last year, the interns taught 84 classes in afterschool programs, the YMCA and local libraries, reaching more than 900 kids. Each class focuses on a recipe and basic nutrition concepts.
  “The outcomes were pretty amazing — several of the interns immediately got work in camps or afterschool programs and all of the interns said they eat healthier now and include more vegetables and fruits in their diet,” McCamant said.
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