Meet Paige: Mother, Fitness Trainer and New Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® Facilitator

In The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® (THK), trained peer facilitators deliver free six week classes throughout the community. Most facilitators were THK participants themselves who wanted to become more involved with the program. Trainees undergo 12 hours of Facilitator Training classes to prepare them to teach, and then when they do teach their first six week series, they are paired with seasoned facilitators.

Paige Balius is a relatively new facilitator. She participated in a six week class herself last spring, which was held at Round Rock ISD headquarters. She found out about the class series from Jackie Broadnax, also a THK Facilitator whose children also attend RRISD. Paige was active in the Round Rock PTA and Jackie thought she would enjoy taking the six week class. Paige enjoyed it so much that she completed the facilitator training in September 2014, and then taught a six week class series at Round Rock ISD this past fall with Jackie! We love seeing how connections are made in the community through this program to promote healthy eating and cooking throughout the greater Austin area!

Molly Costigan, THK Program Coordinator recently interviewed Paige about teaching her first six week series as a Facilitator:

What made you become a Facilitator?

Working in the fitness industry, I talk to people all the time that do not know how to properly feed their bodies. Many eat out often because they don't have basic cooking skills. I love how The Happy Kitchen approaches this problem. The nutrition information is evidence-based and presented in a way that makes it accessible to everyone. The cooking skills are practical and geared toward busy people who need to get dinner on the table quickly. The Happy Kitchen does such a great job teaching people about how to properly feed their families for optimal health & well-being that I wanted to be a part of it!

What did you think about teaching your first class series?

I really enjoyed meeting the participants and seeing how they were all at different stages in their cooking experience. Whether we were learning how much sugar is really in that can of soda (alarming!) or the fastest way to chop herbs, everyone learned something new each time. The Happy Kitchen is for everybody!

Did you learn anything new while Facilitating the class?

One of our participants shared a trick with us to preserve fresh herbs. She chops them up, then packs them into an ice cube tray. She fills the tray with water and freezes it. Once frozen, she removes the "herb ice cubes", stores them in a freezer bag, and pulls one out whenever she needs it! I also learned that Malabar Spinach combined with our recipe for Creamy Green Dressing is absolutely delicious!