Recipe for Success began with the mission to eradicate childhood obesity and its attendant health problems. Almost 50% of Texas 4th graders are at-risk or overweight— especially African-American females and Mexican-American males. Gracie Cavnar, in an amazing example of “mission to action,” spent ten years researching the problem and developing best practices. She then took personal responsibility for staving off this epidemic by starting a foundation with her own funds. With great tenacity and drawing upon her vast reservoir of community contacts, she built an impressive base of support and, in record time, she and her team implemented a pilot program serving five Houston Independent School District schools in at-risk communities. The program proved to be such a success, that it is now being considered for further expansion in Houston and even nationally.
Serving elementary-aged students via a classroom cooking project, it is a unique, fun, and effective way to teach children the facts about food and nutrition by learning how to cook their own meals from seasoned, professional chefs. Proven teaching methods are incorporated which involve math, science, social studies and reading, in addition to the cooking of meals. Gracie recruited and enlisted the help of many of Houston’s premier chefs — everyone from Robert del Grande and Randy Evans to Monica Pope is involved — and to see these chefs “teaching by doing,” interacting with a class of eager and excited fourth graders, is one of the most inspirational sights.
In addition to Houston’s top chefs, Recipe for Success also has various medical professionals, City and County commissions, an impressive band of volunteers, and various corporate sponsors behind it. All of this has been accomplished in record time thanks to the steadfast resolve of its “birth mother” Gracie Cavnar and her determination to save the health of Houston’s children.
My child went to public elementary school and I was appalled at the food he was given. In the beginning they had real cooks and real food, but eventually those women were laid off in favor of more institutional fare that was a very poor substitute. That's when I became interested in Recipe for Success--they are a much needed organization in Houston, and they do a great job.
RFS is a very serious cause and is all about science, nutrition and facts.... and yet, it is so much more! Some might doubt RFS's seriousness because it concerns itself with something we all tend to take for granted...our habits around the food we eat. Yet, our collective habits and psychology around food and nutrition have gone awry and our nation and, especially our young people, face catastrophic consequences if healthy choices aren't made quickly.
The impact of this great organization is hard to convey in words. With a generation of young kids at greater risk for health problems early on due to eating habits, the need for this foundation is priceless to our community at large. This organization fills a void in our society. This void is the lack of knowledge that our children receive about food in general. Basic information reagrding where food comes from and how it can be prepared is what this organization provides for children. All children should be aware of the importance of eating healthy and essentially this is what this organizaiton provides.
I love Recipe for Success! The programs not only impact the children's individual lives, but also contribute to a healthier, more sustainable community. Changing our world to less consumerism and more organic choices is great in my mind!