Switching Sides

Kaitlyn Kesner, Nutrition Coordinator

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognized this past March as “National Nutrition Month,” which happened to be perfect timing to coincide with the conclusion of our inaugural Health and Wellness Club course here at WSCC.

This course was the first of its kind and spanned eight weeks in the spring, each meeting focusing on a different topic in nutrition, paired with hands-on cooking demonstrations and a plethora of physical activities.

The students, our clients that we serve each day, showed up eager to learn and hungry for our creations. Even when trying new things like avocado toast, or being stretched, quite literally, out of their comfort zone by yoga poses, our clients impressed me each week with their willingness to explore.

A few weeks before the program’s start, I spent some time moseying around the Resource Center between meals, surveying clients to gain insight on how to build my lesson plan. I would ask a series of questions – “What is your biggest health concern? What veggies do you like and dislike?” But the most striking and repetitive answer I kept receiving was to the question – “on a scale from 1-10, how willing are you to try new things?” I received a resounding 10 from every person I surveyed.

I was so surprised.

Trying new things often requires courage, trust, and willingness to change. These things are tough to summon, even for me, but our clients seemed to have no problem with it at all. In fact, they welcomed it. One client told me to “bring it on” when I asked about eating new foods. They were courageous and excited, and that same energy was brought to each class session. It was something I didn’t expect, and it was inspiring.

In a way, I was the real student in this class. While the class was about health and wellness, it actually ended up teaching me things I didn’t even know I needed to learn. Things like courage, curiosity, and showing up both mentally and physically. I think my “students” taught me more than I taught them…although I hope they learned a lot in the process too.  

The last week of our class, we had a small graduation ceremony and reception in the Resource Center for all to see. I was so proud to announce the names of those who had been there week after week to learn new things. Later that day, a couple of the students were interviewed by our Advancement staff about their thoughts on the course. They both said they were eager for the class to start its second cycle because they couldn’t wait to learn more.

I feel exactly the same.