This School-Community Service Proposal has a purpose of ensuring that all students have a good start to their learning day by providing a breakfast club which is managed by students at Skyline High School. A previous project assessed community based resources, and a need was identified for onsite food programs for students. Sometimes students skip breakfast due to reasons of times, or they choose a breakfast which is lacking in nutrition. Other times, students live in families who have difficulty ensuring that the nutrition needs of students are met due to lack of income. A breakfast program at Skyline High School is both a learning opportunity and a means of providing an essential service currently not offered by the school or community. It is one that is age and developmentally appropriate, and prepares students for similar such projects after high school graduation.
Many families in the neighborhood have difficulty making financial ends meet, or in other cases they simply lack the time or knowledge to prepare a nutritious breakfast. Teens that do not eat breakfast are at risk for bone density loss for the rest of their lives, and overall studies have shown that teens do not have enough calcium in their diet (Miller et al., 1998). Further, a lack of nutritious breakfast has a negative impact on the ability to teach (Mahoney et al., 2005).
To begin with, the idea will be presented to the student executive for consultation with the student body. Discussion and dialogue will result in the broad outlines of how the plan will be carried out, within parameters such as minimum nutrition content. When the framework for the resulting breakfast program has been determined in this way, then the work can begin in sourcing the materials needed. This may include fundraisers, seeking sponsors for food and other needs and planning.
A teacher will supervise the project, ideally with a teacher responsible for teaching the content of the class with other teachers sharing the responsibility of supervising the breakfast club and its management. By sharing the role, more teachers will be able to lend diverse skill sets to the project, as well as ensuring that the early morning duty does not just fall on one teacher.
There will be many different roles, which will be organized into subgroups in the planning phase that include sourcing raw materials and food for a weekly program, menu planners, budget and cost analysis and workflow management. When the breakfast program is ready to be implemented then various roles must be assigned and shared such as management and coordination, food preparation, serving food, inventory, cleaning, continued seeking of sponsorships and affordable raw materials and food and menu planning.
Curriculum standards for learning
This project not only helps to close a gap in community resources, but it also provides experience in social entrepreneurship, business management, food service and preparation and raw material sourcing. The project may therefore be tied to several classes, while also using student volunteers for many roles.
A specific interdisciplinary class to support this project may be one way in which to ensure alignment of the curriculum while also customizing the course content to be connected to the project. Volunteers may be interested in assisting for other purposes, such as resume development or the development of English language skills by providing a service role. Ideally students have an opportunity to participate in more than one role, and class content ties the management of the program to real practice and theory. This would provide an opportunity for classroom time which explores the different frameworks for business and operations, planning for program delivery, nutrition and service excellence in hospitality.
Career development is another positive side impact to the project, providing for experience that students can use to increase their capacities. They can then provide evidence of this learning on their resumes. This has a great potential to open doors for many students, leading to part-time jobs during school and full-time jobs in summer. In this way this social service project may increase the financial capacity of students and thereby enable attending post-secondary institutions. This is a surprising outcome for a project intended to meet a need in the school community, but one which is very positive and likely to create a great deal of interest in the project for students.
This project provides a hand on and practical way to put the curriculum into action, but it also provides many benefits that go beyond the mandated curriculum. This includes career development, facilitating financial capacity to go to college, increasing confidence in social ventures and management as well as the primary purpose of the project, that being ensuring that students do not go hungry through the day, regardless of the reason why they skipped breakfast.
Starting a breakfast program at Skyline High School is one way that students can benefit from the support of a healthy and nutritious start to the day as well as learning more about operations, food service and delivering social programs. The students will also be engaging in an experience of self-sufficiency, one that is sure to serve them in terms of life skills as well as future jobs. For many students, this breakfast club will provide a position to put on an otherwise blank resume, and this is one of many added benefits to implementing such a program. It is a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
- Mahoney, C. R., Taylor, H. A., Kanarek, R. B., & Samuel, P. (2005). Effect of breakfast composition on cognitive processes in elementary school children. Physiology & behavior, 85(5), 635-645.
- Miller, G. D., Forgac, T., Cline, T., & McBean, L. D. (1998). Breakfast benefits children in the US and abroad. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 17(1), 4-6.