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Cooking up Life Change

Cooking Up Life Change in West Oakland



Mission: To educate youth from the poorest neighborhoods with interactive nutrition lessons, hands on cooking experience and active diabetes education.


Research question: Can youth from under resourced neighborhoods derive in-depth and long lasting knowledge of nutritional, metabolic and diabetes management curricula by comparing what they would normally eat for an after school snack to what they make in class. We will use basketball as our setting to analyze physical ability. x


Key Roles:


Craig Smith: Master chef, certified in Knife Handling, certified in Serve Safe, CCSF Culinary School, Alameda County Medical Center Cooking Staff, DASH Sports Education Top Chef


Delency Baker – Top Notch physical trainer, long term volunteer with DASH, former college Baseball player, personal trainer for all people, especially those with diabetes.


Lucas Fogarty: Founder of DASH, expert diabetes educator teaching kids, youth, young adults, adults and loved ones/family members. Former professional athlete and type 1 diabetic for 20 years


Timeframe: 4-6 weeks


Program Description:

Education sessions on nutrition, cooking, applicability of eating (i.e. what’s your food doing in the body and how you interact with it), basketball and diabetes education. Sessions are composed of 1 ½ hour sessions of cooking and 1 hour of physical activity.


Location: West Oakland Teen Center in collaboration with the West Oakland YMCA M. Robinson Center and local elementary school Hoover.


Target Participants: Youth from West Oakland surrounding the Teen Center, M.Robinson YMCA and Hoover Elementary



Learning Objectives:

  • Teach youth about where their food comes from and its basic nutritional components
  • Teach youth how their food interacts with their body and the metabolic pathways
  • Show youth the effects of what they eat on their physical ability in terms of diabetes management
  • To give youth an opportunity to learn about food, metabolism and diabetes both in the kitchen and in the basketball court


Sample Curriculum:

  • Intro activity on where the provide food came from, how it was grown, and what basic nutritional components does it have
  • Meal preparation and cooking
  • Breakdown of metabolic effects of the basic nutritional components of food used that day.
  • Scientific examination of taste
  • Three-phase diabetes education activity relating to the basic nutritional components covered in the intro
  • Conclusive session with analysis of energy output and its relationship with what they ate and how they performed athletically.



  • Pre and Post Participant surveys on basic nutritional values in food cooked and food available in community, basic metabolic pathways for consumption of food cooked and food available in community, and basics of diabetes management
  • Attendance rates from beginning of class to the end
  • Parental input and participation from beginning to the end of class
  • Self image assessments from participants pre and post intervention surveys
  • # Of reported “bad” food days
  • # Of reported “good” food days
  • # Of reported hungry days
  • Emotional de-attachment of food
  • # Of friends told about lessons learned from class