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Edible Schoolyard NOLA

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Changing the way children and familieseat, learn and live at FirstLine Schools in New Orleans.


Celebrating LDSC Service

Oct 3, 2017


Chrissie Alving-Trinh


Alana Neuman

Now in their second year in the Louisiana Delta Service Corps (LDSC), Chrissie Alving-Trinh and Alana Neuman have made huge contributions to ESYNOLA teaching kitchens as chef educators, curriculum-builders, special events innovators, and essential parts of the school communities at Samuel J. Green and Arthur Ashe Charter Schools. To celebrate Alana and Chrissie’s tenure and share their experiences and spirit of service, we interviewed them. Here’s what they said: 


What past experience best prepared you for your role at Edible Schoolyard New Orleans?  

Chrissie: Throughout high school and college, I worked with students of various ages both in the classroom and in after school programs. Additionally, although I had no formal culinary experience, I have grown up cooking with my family and friends. 

Alana: My appreciation for food as a way to experience different cultures and find common ground between people. Cooking changed my life in many ways, which made it easy for me to adapt to the ESY kitchen classroom environment and passionate about exposing students the joys of cooking and developing an open mind. 


Who/what instilled the spirit of service that drove you to serve for Louisiana Delta Service Corps? 

Alana: I wanted to engage in meaningful work within a community and city that I've grown to call home, and service-oriented spirit of LDSC aligns with my personal values.

Chrissie: My mom's commitment to service inspired me and instilled in me a spirit of service that led me to serve with LDSC. 


What part of ESYNOLA's programming, mission, or values speaks to you the most?

Chrissie: Edible Schoolyard New Orleans' value that "health and wellness contribute to the success of the whole child" really speaks to me because it is a perfect intersection of my interests in the medical field and teaching. 

Alana: Creating joy, community, and celebrating our natural environment. The fact that each school holds events like family garden days, family food nights, and various festivals celebrating our local habitat and natural resources extends the same experiential opportunities in the classroom to families and the rest of the community


What aspect of LDSC training has had the biggest impact on you? 

Alana: The most impactful part of my LDSC training has been the opportunity to surround myself with a diverse group of people who are serving at various non-profits and working across multiple sectors in New Orleans. We come together as a cohort once a month and engage in dialogue about the work our partner organizations do and challenges within the New Orleans community.

Chrissie: LDSC's commitment to educating its corps members on issues relevant to New Orleans and the community in which they serve is invaluable. 


Describe one of your favorite moments on the job. 

Chrissie: Coming into Kitchen, one of my kindergarteners refused to try any food. She would simply close her mouth and cross her arms when it was time to eat. Throughout the year, I built a relationship with her. Overtime, she started trying the more familiar foods until eventually she was excited to even try a nibble of unfamiliar food. Now, she comes into Kitchen excited to try anything from peaches to quinoa to pickled beets. 

Alana: Recently our 7th and 8th graders had a taco challenge where they got to design their own taco as part of a unit on balancing flavors. They prep and cook their tacos and plate them to present to their teachers, who are judges. Watching them work together and obsess over the presentation of their taco and rehearse how they’ll describe the flavors to the judges was amazing----you could see each student beaming with pride and I heard them talking about their creations in the hallways later that day. The whole challenge enables them to problem-solve and to be innovative and confidant.


You two are uniquely serving a second year with LDSC at ESYNOLA. What inspired this second year of service?

Alana: I chose to serve a second year because I wanted the opportunity to continue to be part of ESY and contribute to such valuable, experiential and hands-on education. Last year I felt grounded in my relationships with students and staff within the Ashe community, and I saw serving a second year as a way to sustain and continue those relationships and build on my experience from my first year to continue providing a unique and joyful learning environment for students.

Chrissie: The relationships I built with my students, their families, and my fellow teachers at Green Charter inspired me to stay a second year.  


What are your future plans/goals? 

Chrissie: I want to continue working with kids in the future as a pediatric neurologist. Additionally, I hope to continue teaching as a professor in a medical school. 

Alana: I want to continue working with kids to provide hands-on learning experiences.   


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