Volunteers of the Month: Our Fall Interns

December 29, 2016

CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month program recognizes the dedication and work of some of our most active volunteers. CUESA relies on volunteers to help with education programs, special events, public outreach, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. Learn more about volunteering and submit an application here. You can also sign up for our next volunteer orientation on January 18, 2017, here.

CUESA volunteers perform essential tasks that not only help to sustain but also broaden the impact of our programs. Every season CUESA is fortunate to host a number of interns, who do extra heavy lifting and serve as an integral bridge between our staff and community. We’re so grateful for the contributions of the following interns:

Foodwise Kids Interns: Rebecca Crawbuck, Gyongyi Gozon, and Maritza Sazo

“The Foodwise Kids intern team has been amazing this fall! Thanks to their dedication, we were able to serve over 1,000 students from over 50 classes, setting a new record for this semester,” says Education Programs Coordinator Tessa Kappe. “Rebecca, Gyongyi, and Maritza were extremely committed, implementing new systems, creating infrastructure, and uplifting the entire Foodwise Kids program. We have been so lucky to have them, and it has been a true pleasure to work with them!”

From Rebecca: It has been a joy to be a Foodwise Kids intern this fall. I’ve learned that kids overwhelmingly love fruits and vegetables when we give them the power to shop and cook for themselves. Facilitating that opportunity for kids who haven’t experienced it before has been pivotal for me. The educational work that CUESA is doing for young people is so important and I’m lucky to have been part of it.

From Gyongyi: I remember the first time I heard all the kids yell, “Thank you, farmers!” at the end of their farmers market field trip. I teared up. It was heartwarming to see them get excited about Brussels sprouts, spaghetti squash, and “pomegrams.” It’s so important to nurture early an understanding of where our food comes from. Cooking also made many kids realize that it takes effort to prepare a healthy, tasty meal, and they appreciated their parents’ cooking more after the class. I learned to think quickly on my feet because no two days were ever the same; there was a new class every day, the weather was unpredictable, sometimes there were fewer farms than scheduled, or the mic wasn’t working. Even though it was sometimes nerve wracking to talk sensibly to 35 new kids, I overcame my stage fright and am now much more comfortable speaking in front of large groups. I’m so happy to have worked with my fellow interns and our wonderful program coordinator Tessa, and I hope to continue volunteering for the program in the coming semester.

From Maritza:
Interning with the Foodwise Kids program this fall gave me the opportunity to explore the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market through the eyes of first through fifth graders every week. We tried new fruits and veggies, ate beans seasoned with cinnamon and vinegar, and made some truly delicious dishes using local and seasonal produce. My internship was a tremendously rewarding experience that regularly reminded me of the Bay Area’s natural abundance we have at our fingertips, the generosity of our local farmers and merchants, and the sweetness of an excited kid with a plastic knife in hand and some carrots to chop. I made great friends, ate great food, and am forever grateful to have been a part of this wonderful program.”

Culinary Programs Intern, Vic Chin

“Vic was so enthusiastic about learning all about CUESA and contributing her numerous skills to the culinary programs,” says Culinary Programs Manager Carrie Sullivan. “She has been an indefatigable web page formatter, data entry master, recipe editor, shopping list generator, and kitchen volunteer organizer. I feel very fortunate to have had the assistance of someone with such a great range of skills. I am very happy that she has already stated her intention to continue volunteering with CUESA!”

From Vic: As a culinary intern, I helped run the Saturday chef demos at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, as well as a few Sunday demos at Jack London Square. Along with working with diverse chefs, I organized the support of dedicated volunteers with a passion for CUESA’s mission. I enjoyed interacting with the public and educating them on ways to cook with seasonal ingredients using professional techniques. It was interesting to organize a couple of farm and food tours and interact directly with some of our farmers and producers. CUESA’s Sunday Supper: A Farm to City Feast fundraising gala was a delight to be a part of. It was a dizzying spectacle watching prestigious chefs from around the Bay do what they do best and put on such an amazing supper, including a whole roast pig and giant spit-grilled squash. Overall, interning at CUESA helped me understand our food system better and the ways we can make an impact. I learned a lot and met some incredible people.

Special Events Interns: Devin Dougherty and Maile Nakamura

“One aspect of working with interns that I really cherish is the excitement they bring to the issues we are working on in sustainable agriculture,” says Director of Development Christine Farren. “They remind me of why the work is so interesting, as well as critical. They also bring a welcome, fresh energy to an office of people who have worked together for over a decade. In planning Sunday Supper tasks with Devin and Maile, I was impressed by their willingness to tackle any task fearlessly, and with an easy-going attitude. Devin’s attention to detail was essential in getting our registration and ticketing in order, while Maile’s work on our silent auction made this new addition to an already multifaceted event much easier to incorporate. I’m incredibly grateful to them both!”

From Devin: My internship at CUESA started when I was relatively new to the Bay Area. I was able to immerse myself in a passionate community and meet some inspiring people. I learned so much while working with the accomplished CUESA staff. They all work so hard and empower their employees and volunteers. Their passion is contagious. Overall I had a wonderful time while at CUESA.

From Maile: Interning to support Sunday Supper in October was of great importance to me to further understand the mission and goals of CUESA and to experience the work that goes into coordinating a large fundraising event, CUESA-style. I helped coordinate the silent auction for Sunday Supper, which raised nearly $8,000 for CUESA. I was happy to be a positive support for such an important nonprofit. Thank you!

Pictured above: Vic Chin, Devin Dougherty, Maritza Sazo, and Rebecca Crawbuck; Maritza Sazo with Foodwise Kids students (photo by Amanda Lynn Photograph); and Maile Nakamura.