Say hello to Kendra, one of our over twenty part-time Educators with the Vetri Cooking Lab program! In this role, she works with a class of fifteen 4th through 8th graders once a week after school for ten weeks. Together she and her students use the kitchen as a classroom to combine cooking, nutrition education, and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) core concepts to help them become more educated food consumers. The Vetri Cooking Lab program is possible with support from GSK.

To help you get to know Kendra on a more personal level, we sat down to ask her a few questions as a part of a #VCPeople Q&A:  

Q: So what do you do outside of your work with VCP, Kendra?  

Kendra: By day, I work for the School District of Philadelphia as a Climate and Culture Coach. Simply put, I work with principals, staff, and students to build a supportive learning environment that promotes academic and behavioral growth and achievement, with the aim of making a school a healthy and effective space for learning. I like to believe I bring a lot of this approach to my cooking lab. It is my goal to make sure the “Little Chefs” know this space is safe and supportive to learn, grow, make mistakes and expand their knowledge around food, nutrition, and cooking.

Q: So is this background in education what drew you to VCP and the role of Vetri Cooking Lab Educator? 

Kendra:  I consider finding this role happenstance. In all honesty, I never thought I wanted to be a teacher/educator. I ran away from the role. Everyone in my family is a teacher and I thought I didn’t have the educator calling!  But I knew cooking was always a passion and I wanted an opportunity that felt fulfilling, but didn’t feel like a job. Something impactful and meaningful, yet fun and challenging.

Then I found VCP and it felt like I found the golden ticket! It was flexible for my schedule, comprehensive, thorough, engaging, and the staff is amazing, diverse, passionate, knowledgeable and kind. The curriculum was comprehensive and thorough – something I could fully get behind and support. I instantly became a fan of VCP! They truly care about the “whole” educator, and choose to nurture their people in such a way that compels you to want to support their mission, vision and values. 

Q: Given all this, what has your favorite part of being VCL Educator been thus far?

Kendra:  Being a VCL Educator has been beautifully challenging! Keeping young learners engaged is always a task.  But the thing is, they keep me on my toes and challenge me in a way that refines my teaching. They make me think in a new way. I love seeing their palates and vocabulary mature. It’s definitely a feel good moment.   

Q: Alright last question – if you were a fruit or a veggie what would you be and why?  

Kendra:  Hmm, i​f I were a fruit, it would be a pineapple: unique and fun, sweet and refreshing. I pair well with both savory and sweet, but can stand on my own!

If you see Kendra around at your school, be sure to stop and say hello!