Cristy Trader is doing great work in her year of service with Americorps at the Mississippi Food Network. We recently caught up with her to find out how she got involved and how she is making a difference.
OWG: Tell us about Americorps and how you ended up working for them?
Cristy: A friend of the family told my mom about the Americorps Program. I did my research on the internet and was selected for the term. You have to commit to one year of service and can serve up to two years if selected again. I am currently serving in the City of Jackson “Capitol City Rebuilds Progam” with program manager, Ms. Keyshia Sanders.
OWG: I understand that you are working with the Mississippi Food Network. What are your responsibilities?
Cristy: There are 20 members in our program and we are divided into 10 different agencies. Each agency receives 2 volunteers. My agency is the MS Food Network (MFN). My responsibilities at MFN are to go out to different daycares, agencies, pre-schools, etc., and teach nutrition education using The OrganWise Guys Program. I also assist Ms. Cassandra Guess with “Nutrition Cooking Demos” and “Train the Trainer” sessions at different agencies that partner with the network. When I’m not busy teaching nutrition or the Americorps projects, I assist Ms. Marilyn Blackledge and Hazzard Miller, another Americorps volunteer, with our Community Garden Projects.
OWG: What is the value of programming like the OWG?
Cristy: The program teaches kids lessons about the different organs inside their little bodies and teaches them how to keep each organ healthy and clean with healthy eating and physical activity.
OWG: What keeps you motivated?
Cristy: When I was young, my mom couldn’t afford everything that we really needed like food, clothes, shoes, doctor and dentist visits, etc. This was after her and my dad divorced when I was only four years old. Being able to go around and teach the children about OWG is really a blessing for me. Some of them can’t afford most healthy foods but they still will be able to make better choices by knowing what to eat and how to keep their organs and teeth clean and healthy.
OWG: Who is your favorite OWG character and why?
Cristy: Hardy Heart because he is our heart. All hearts need love and I’ve got plenty of love to go around for everyone.
Thanks to our partners at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for providing the resources for women like Cristy to share their passion!