JFS dietetics interns pose for the camera during a Community Kitchen event they're leading.

Reflections From our UBC Dietetics Interns

Among its many roles in our community, JFS is an educational hub that emphasizes skill-building and empowerment for our community members. JFS also supports the education and learning of professionals in care fields. Each year, our counselling program hosts 12 intern counselling students as they finish up their masters programs with an 8-month practicum.

This summer, we also had the privilege of welcoming two interns to our Food Security team for the first time! Shelby Cender and Jessica Flechner-Klein are second year students in the Master of Nutrition and Dietetics program at UBC. They joined JFS for a five-week practicum as part of their training in community nutrition.

During their time at JFS, Shelby and Jessica contributed wholeheartedly, delivering a range of projects and resources. “From the moment we stepped into JFS, we were embraced with warmth and unwavering support, allowing us to thrive in this nurturing environment.”

One of their most notable contributions is a 5-day Meal Planning Guide specifically created with older adults in mind--one of the largest groups we serve at JFS. The guide includes 5 nutritious Kosher recipes, helpful nutrition tips, and features ingredients included in our Grocery Program orders.

Shelby and Jessica's leadership truly shone as they orchestrated two successful Community Kitchens which received overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants.

“The Community Kitchens were the most valuable and enriching part of this placement. We were able to work alongside diverse groups of people to foster a deep sense of community, reminding us of the power of food to unite and connect people from all walks of life.

One moment that stands out vividly is when we were able to make a participant feel safe and secure during a Community Kitchen. We listened to their food preferences, then, with empathy and creativity we adapted the recipe using alternative ingredients so they could fully participate and savour the meal with everyone else. Witnessing the joy and contentment on their face validated our belief in the transformative power of food and its ability to nourish not just the body but also the soul.

As aspiring dietitians, we are dedicated to empowering people in their relationship with food, fostering a positive and nurturing connection that transcends the mere act of eating. The memories we created during those sessions will forever be etched in our hearts.”

The impact and gratitude is mutual. JFS program staff and participants benefit greatly from the short time that all of our interns spend with us. Not only do they allow us to reach more community members, they offer fresh perspectives and bright enthusiasm. Thank you!

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