Training of Trainers: Christy Robb on the Power of Participatory Education

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“Training of Trainers allowed me to do two things I love: cook and teach,” says Christy Robb, Food Services Director at St. Johns Bread & Life in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. “I hadn’t thought of myself in that way, and it had a huge personal impact on me.”

Just Food is inviting advocates, organizers, workshop leaders, staff and volunteers of community organizations to attend our Training of Trainers Intensive November 6th and 7th. Participants will explore ways to actively engage community members in learning, organizing and decision making and leave with a solid understanding of and concrete tools for effective communication, skill sharing, and engaging others in their work.

Just Food is grateful to the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund for funding scholarships to our Fall 2015 Training of Trainers Intensive.

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“I think everyone in social services and emergency food should take Training of Trainers,” says Christy. “Every time we interact with clients we are teaching. When we can do that effectively, it’s empowering for clients, volunteers, and staff alike.”

A social services and emergency food veteran, Christy went through the Training of Trainers seven years ago to become a Just Food Community Chef. As a Community Chef, Christy has taught clients at St. John’s Bread & Life and Long Island City’s Hour Children food pantry about cooking with fresh, locally-grown vegetables.

“Training of trainers built my confidence in my ability to share the knowledge I have with others in a workshop setting. But I use that training throughout my professional life. Most recently, I used the approach during a staff meeting where we were brainstorming effective strategies to support difficult clients. I used the tools from the Training of Trainers and it worked out really well--our staff really responded.”

Christy has less time for food education in her current role. But two community members--Pamela Judkins and Aida Castillo--participated in the training and are now providing cooking demonstrations at St. John’s Bread & Life.

Christy sees the shift at St. John’s as an exciting development. “People are becoming better teachers who never thought of themselves as teachers. That intent is very powerful, very important. Training of Trainers is an engine for real community empowerment.”

Just Food is grateful to the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund for funding scholarships to our Fall 2015 Training of Trainers Intensive.