Community Service – Teaching cooking to the underprivileged kids

For 6 weekends in the months of July, August, and September, I taught cooking to the underprivileged kids of some government schools. We taught them 2 dishes each session which were simple to make, yet delicious and enjoyable. This included all types of food, even desserts. It was a stimulating experience and I think there was equal learning from both sides. Apart from being an opportunity for giving back to the society, these sessions were apt for self reflection and putting some of my qualities, like communicative, benevolent and caring, to good use.

LO 1 : Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth

  • While working with the kids, I discovered that my strength was engaging the students and interacting with them. The kids were between 7 – 14 years of age, so they got easily distracted. Keeping them interested and occupied in the task was very difficult. However, after a couple of sessions, I understood that you have to keep talking to them and explaining even the tiniest details. For example, I kept asking them about their hobbies, their interests and even what they understood until then. Personally, this helped me connect with the kids, exercise my communication skills and it also indicated areas of improvement. In the first session I explained them the recipe and asked them to make it on their own. However, they didn’t understand it completely and were puzzled when I asked them to explain it to me again. Hence, reflecting on this experience, I modified my method of teaching. I believe that it was a fun and insightful experience for all of us.

LO 4 : Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences

  • Being a 6 week long service, there was immense need of diligence and commitment from the volunteers’ side. A lot of my fellow friends who were also teaching the underprivileged along with me became restless very easily. Sometimes, even I felt like going home at that instant. Nevertheless, I then remembered the real reason we were doing this service. Teaching them required a lot of patience and I realised that if I don’t have the enthusiasm to teach them then I can’t expect to show them the same towards learning it. So after a few sessions, I understood a lot of things and started improving on them.

LO 5 : Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively

  • I strongly believe that my efficiency increases while working with a team. In this case, we were about 7 people (me and 6 other volunteers from my school itself) teaching approximately 18-19 kids each session. Having more volunteers was extremely advantageous as with more people we could teach more dishes and we could divide the work. Also, the mother tongue of the kids was Gujarati and some of the volunteers did not know that language. By having more people, we could communicate with the students better. We had good coordination between each other as we never got confused in the tasks assigned by us and more importantly, the kids were never stuck while learning any recipe.

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