Each year the new members of Junior League of Lansing are charged with presenting the Kids in the Kitchen event. The idea is to get kids in the kitchen cooking treats that are not only healthy, but tasty. Each new member class develops a unique way to make this happen, and this year’s new member class (which includes myself and Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine Account Manager Jennifer Hodges) decided to partner with the Westside YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day. Chairing the event this year were Trinea Crafton and Karissa Chabot-Purchase. “My work in Michigan’s Legislature provides me with a number of opportunities to advocate for health-related issues on a macro, policy-oriented level, but I knew a high-level of engagement in our Kids in the Kitchen project would give me the chance to help empower the community in a new (and very direct) way,” said Chabot-Purchase. Crafton and Chabot-Purchase were approached by a fellow new member about partnering with the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day. “Once we looked into it more it was a natural and perfect fit,” said Crafton. “There was symmetry between both Kids in the Kitchen’s focus and the Westside YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day that made the opportunity easy and natural.” Healthy Kids Day featuring Kids in the Kitchen took place on Saturday, April 28 at the Westside YMCA, hundreds of kids and their families came out for the event. The YMCA presented hands-on activities and health assessments and the Junior League of Lansing provided kids with samples of tasty treats like hummus courtesy of The Purple Carrot, trail mix, cream cheese-inspired snacks — both salty and sweet — and more. Guests at Healthy Kids Day featuring Kids in the Kitchen also received recipe cards featuring the treats from the day and seedlings that kids planted in recycled egg cartons with the idea that families could go home and continue the trend of eating healthy. “We heard lots of ‘I don’t like that,’ and ‘What is that?’ comments accompanied by wrinkled noses and frowns,” said Chabot-Purchase of the children’s reactions to the snacks. “Interaction with our volunteers definitely changed some minds … children’s initial weariness shifted into positive comments like, ‘That IS good,’ ‘I like that!’ and ‘Yum!’” The Junior League also invited Todd “TJ” Duckett, former Michigan State University and NFL football player to the event to meet with kids and share the importance of a healthy lifestyle. “The reactions of the children were priceless.” said Crafton. “It was great to see their faces light up when they could see how fun health could be with either food or exercise.” The event was a success thanks to the help of the event chairs, community volunteers, YMCA representatives and the new member class. “I was so happy to see that this kind of event could touch so many people in the community,” said Crafton. Chabot-Purchase agrees. “It’s always exciting and energizing to see what can happen when individuals and organizations combine their power toward a greater goal.”
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.