October 15, 2021

Acqua NYC

Fit And Go Forward

Local school engages families with monthly cooking segments

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — With the world turned upside down due to COVID-19, trying to stay healthy can be hard. Families spending time indoors doing work or remote learning might be tempted to pick up fast food after a long day.

But one outside-the-box option is aiming to inspire parents to get creative in the kitchen.

Ellis Elementary School has found a way to engage with families staying at home by making monthly cooking segments.

“During the pandemic, we’re looking for a way to continue to stay connected to our families and our students and of course we want to educate them and give them things to do at home,” said Ellis Elementary Principal Taren Turner.

Koree Blackful is the behavior intervention specialist at Ellis but also serves as the chef in these videos.

“Families can make meals they can enjoy, that they can kind of spread out if they have multiple kids on a budget. So, that’s how it kind of got started,” said Blackful.

Like every good cook, Blackful needs an assistant–his son, Karson. The one-year-old lends a hand in the kitchen, something he hopes other families can do to bond.

“My son Karson, that’s my sous chef every time I’m in the kitchen he wants to be in the kitchen he’s smelling stuff, he’s mixing things up putting seasoning,” said Blackful.

Monthly videos provide families a healthy alternative to fast food.

Just kind of doing healthy stuff, healthy cooking that kids can do with their families stuff they can do with their parents nothing too complicated,” he added.

Principal Turner says the plan is to develop even more healthy eating resources.

“We’re looking to extend this healthy cooking segment to the students when they come in-person, having a student sous chef work with Mr. Koree. And we’re also working on a parent academy portion,” Principal Turner said.

“We can’t control what’s going on in the world and in the environment, but what we try to do is provide some sort of positivity. Just to let it be known we can still have fun, we can still do stuff virtually and have a good time,” Blackful said.

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