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summer 2012 DC stats

15 Aug

today, i arrived back in texas yall after 2 months.  that may seem like a short time for some of you, but it’s the longest i’ve been away from this state since i made the move 5 years ago and it feels strangely right to be “home”. whatever “home” means for me.  tomorrow i will fill my tex-mex requirement of being a texan and make my way back to the beautiful city of waco. seriously, it’s beautiful. before then, here’s a look back at my summer away in the nation’s capitol!

 

favorite meals: tacklebox grilled cod and grilled squash or sweetgreen bondi salad

favorite treats: sprinkles vegan red velvet cupcake or fro-zen-yo froyo.

metro book reads: The Search for Significance, The Church Can Change the World, Made to Crave, Redeeming Love, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Kisses from Katie – also started Les Mis and Half the Sky.

favorite memorial: MLKjr or WWII at night

favorite street sights: business men riding on scooters (3 total all summer) or people dancing/singing along to headphones while walking

favorite coffee: cafe phillips – iced coffee with coffee ice cubes. watered down ice coffee no more. or the always glorious hot cup of dunkins’.

favorite daily view – capitol. i felt so american!

best metro stop – ballston. only because the first time I got off there, there was a surprise farmers market waiting for me outside of it!

favorite farmers market – i got to 5 this summer but Vienna was my favorite hands down. I think because it was close but had everything I wanted and more!

visitors – mom, kasidy, aunt linda

old friends in new city – ayla, melinda. wish i could have seen sarah, daniel and alex!

favorite touristy thing to do: ferry tours to old town alexandria.. the potomac is beautiful!!!!

favorite bridge: key 🙂 so so so pretty!

favorite surprise celebrity meeting: lauren winner of so you think you can dance season 7!

favorite suburb: bethesda. that is where i found green tea smoothie with bubbles. i was in love.

favorite smithsonian: national gallery of art (i am sad to admit this may or may not have been the only one i got to this summer…)

favorite CKP memory: CJT graduation or night of prep at kitchen during boot camp

favorite airline: JET BLUE. free checked bag, free snacks, free dunkin coffee, and free tv PLUS cupcake wars was playing while i was flying… can you say dream flight right there?

mundane extraordinaries

17 Jul

“I’m just an ordinary person doing a bunch of ordinary things that come together to become extraordinary”  – woman in The Weight of the Nation

Ever wonder what I’m doing up here in DC land?  Besides seeing pandas at the zoo, exploring lots of metro stops, finding the most delicious green tea smoothie with bubbles, finding new running paths and going to vienna farmers market every saturday I go to work every week day!  I get off at one of the most touristy places (Union Station) and make my way to Gonzaga University High School where my office is!  I get to see the Capitol every morning and afternoon! 🙂

My internship is half through Baylor and for that requirement us interns get to blog every other week!  Here’s our stories  – BIPI Blog ! These are some bomb people living sweet experiences!  Their stories are definitely worth the wander. (It is here I got the heads up to check out The weight of the nation [quoted and linked above] – very insightful documentary that’s not only about obesity but about the greater issues of food insecurity, deserts and access – all things I get to learn about!)

DC Central Kitchen  (DCCK) is the main non-profit I work for, but specifically in their Campus Kitchen Project  (CKP) arm.  DCCK does a lot of different programs – like the one I wrote about in my last blog.  You should totally check out their website – Fresh Start is an AWESOME catering company (their food is delish!) and the culinary job training program is changing lives!  They also have a Truck Farm which I get to do some with – I got to sit with it at the USDA Farmers Market and take it on a couple site visits to show kids about gardening and nutrition!  SO fun! One thing I love about DCCK is their project right now creating from scratch healthy and delicious meals for 8 DC public schools.  It’s an adjustment to what kids were eating but it’s introducing little nuggets early to delicious choices and giving them education about nutrition along the way!!! Generations can be changed because of this stuff.  DCCK totally sets the standard high!

Development shares an office with CKP and they are planning a legit event right now!  It’s called Capital Food Fight and has celebrities come to host and judge local chefs to raise money for DCCK!  This is where I get to fulfill stereotypical intern duties like folding, stuffing, stamping and mailing sponsorship letters.   I secretly really love it 🙂

For CKP, I am trying to gauge what the impact is on student leadership involved with this program.  I get to talk to awesome students and coordinators – people doing awesome things.  I’m also creating a survey to further track the impact on students.  It’s been fun!  I also get to do random things like write a blog for the website – http://www.campuskitchens.org/the-life-cycle-of-a-pizza-2/ and work on online resources for schools by doing some research.

I’m also just learning a lot about food access and how important it is!  As well as the necessity of healthy food!  Some insightful finds I’ve come across are Eating Richly and Civil Eats.

I know that’s a lot of links but I wanted to share the treasures I’ve picked up during my time here!  I’d love to dialogue more if you’re interested in any of this stuff! It is SO fascinating and can make the total difference in having a healthier nation!  Hunger is so much more complex than I ever knew – but there are real people doing real things!  Some days they may seem small but the mundane ordinaries together are extraordinary!

in a room full of heroes

6 Jul

a terribly blurry view of some graduates!

My internship could not be a more perfect place to spend this summer.  I’m once again amazed at the timing of God.  This past year has been one of freedom and breakthrough for myself.  When explaining how I got interested in the anti human trafficking movement to a friend, I finally realized how true God is to place things in it’s perfect time.  I first really learned about trafficking my junior year and wrote a paper about the church’s role in seeing the end of it come.  And then it got the back burner, not on purpose, it just happened that way until late December of last year.  When I was telling her this it dawned on me that from the time I wrote the paper until then was my big time of freedom.  God had to start the freedom process in me for me to be able to work to set others free.  Well, this past year I’ve been learning a lot about food.  About dairy and how to get around it now, about the quality of food and how much that actually matters.  So, here God hands me an internship with an organization that takes left over food and the idea of food and turns it into something more useful.  I am learning SO MUCH about food here.  About insecurities for people and the importance of access to healthy food.  How much a little education can go a long way and the possibilities of using food as a doorway to relationships.  How every day students can work with food to see change in their community and change in themselves.  Everyday I talk to heroes – people who see a need and work hard to fill it.  I was talking to a rising senior this week and she said “I want people to know that it [hunger] is real and it’s happening and that you have the power to change things.”  I am blown away every day by the fight that people across the nation are taking in order to see people have the opportunity to learn more about food and have a healthy meal that came from food that was just going to be thrown away.

The real purpose of today’s blog is about something a little different.  I work for the Campus Kitchen Project, which is a project that comes from a bigger organization, DC Central Kitchen.  My internship is flexible and they do a great job of allowing me to experience and see the whole non-profit.  I had the privilege of doing meal prep at the kitchen one of my first mornings working here and today I had the absolute honor to watch the graduation of the Culinary Job Training program.  There were 20 people there who received a certificate and a culinary knife.  From the moment they came into the room dancing and singing to Kirk Franklin’s I Smile, I knew this was going to be an impacting experience.  I was in a room full of heroes.  Of people who had everything stacked against them to fail, but wouldn’t take failure as an option.  Of people who struggled and fought.  Of people who had bonded over the fight and now we were seeing them as a family.  The Culinary Job Training program is at the heart of DC Central Kitchen.  It’s a place for people who wouldn’t have a chance otherwise to learn a skill and get a job – something that would be far out of their reach otherwise.  Today was Class 88’s graduation.  This program has seen many go through and see success.  The guest speaker, Marian Wright Edelman who founded Children’s Defense Fund is a woman worthy of honor.  She fights for children across America to have a chance to succeed.  Another speaker graduated in class 45 and now her brother was graduating.  Then to hear from one of the graduates themselves was incredible.  Her view of life, the way she describes it and how she sees people and their experiences.  Her wisdom about life was so good. Awards were given, tears were falling, goose bumps were appearing.  It was an incredible way to spend an hour and a half.  I just couldn’t get past the fact that I was getting to share a room with heroes.  People who take the first step, who keep moving, who don’t let circumstances define them.  It was a humbling experience, one I will always carry.  I never want to forget that in the mundane, these are the moments that make it worth it.  That there is nothing more rewarding to do with this life than to invest in people and see lives go from deemed as hopeless to full of hope.  That even the moments I don’t understand are expanding places in me.  That when things seem hard, it’s always worth the move forward.  That it’s always worth it to serve and do excellent.  It’s always worth it to speak up for the voiceless.  It’s always good to smile and celebrate the little moments and the successes.  It truly was an honor to be there.