South Phoenix students focus on food skills

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A special program is helping kids in south Phoenix cook and stay healthy with their food. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A special program is helping kids in south Phoenix cook and stay healthy with their food. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Roosevelt School District uses private donations for their Positive Reflections Club, called the "PR" Club. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Roosevelt School District uses private donations for their Positive Reflections Club, called the "PR" Club. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Teaching the young students to be self-sufficient in the kitchen helps keep them eating nutritious food while away from school. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Teaching the young students to be self-sufficient in the kitchen helps keep them eating nutritious food while away from school. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A special program in a south Phoenix school district is teaching more than academics.

Its focus is food, and it's designed for students who may need it most.

The Roosevelt School District uses private donations for their Positive Reflections Club, called the "PR" Club.

"The entrepreneurs of the future will have to create something new, and also be able to market. That's what we bring together in this program," school board member Lawrence Robinson said.

Looking ahead to the future is one goal. Family connection is another.

"A lot of the families in south Phoenix gather every night around the table. So being able to help their families cook, and maybe be able to open a business in the future is what they're taking out of this program," Robinson added.

In a community with higher rates of diabetes and obesity, another goal is to get the kids to eat healthier.  

"I'm making potatoes and blueberry muffins and other things. I don't think I'll be a chef, but at least I know how to cook things," eighth-grader Gabriel Olaichu said.

"I just learned how to work with yeast and make breads, and how to be more independent," seventh-grader Karen Deciderio said.

Many families in the Roosevelt School District rely on free or reduced meals at school for their children. It presents challenges during the summer months when school is on break.

Teaching the young students to be self-sufficient in the kitchen helps keep them eating nutritious food while away from school.

"The more we can do to get them the skills to be able to make meals from scratch and understand their nutritional needs, the better," Dan Bogert of the Arizona Restaurant Association said.

The Arizona Restaurant Association and SSP America help sponsor the food program, which uses no funding from the state.

"We're connecting our kids back to our roots in south Phoenix. We farmed and had orchards. As we see the farm to table concept taking off in the restaurant industry, these kids know already know those skills. Connecting them to their roots is connecting them to a future of prosperity," Robinson said.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Jared DillinghamJared anchors the weekend newscasts at 5, 6, 9 and 10pm on both 3TV and CBS5. He also reports during the week for both stations.

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Jared Dillingham

Over his decade in Phoenix, Jared has worked all shifts at 3TV, including a yearlong stint anchoring the weekend morning show.

Since 2007, Jared has covered everything from Senator John McCain's campaign for president, to the Jodi Arias trial, to the largest wildfire in Arizona history.

Jared grew up in New York, and graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in broadcast journalism and political science.

After internships at News12 Long Island and NBC in Washington, DC, Jared moved to beautiful "Big Sky Country." He spent a year at KRTV in Great Falls, Montana, before moving to KREM in Spokane, Washington.

The Valley has truly become "home" for Jared. He lives in Phoenix, and spends his mornings listening to as many news/political podcasts as possible, while walking his (now elderly) rescue dogs, Gabby and Bree.

On his days off, Jared can be found at any of the local restaurants which have popped up in the city since he first moved here, or hiking Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain.

He also travels as much as possible and runs a blog with advice on visiting cities around the world.

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