About our Cooking Matters Peer Health Educator Program
About 75% of our Cooking Matters classes and Cooking Matters at the Store grocery store tours are taught by trained Peer Health Educators or promotores de salud. Our Peer Health Educator program offers community members who are from the same backgrounds as our low-income Cooking Matters students the opportunity to become leaders in promoting healthy neighborhoods by teaching their peers the Cooking Matters curriculum. 18 Reasons provides prospective Peer Educators with a 9-session training that covers cooking, nutrition, and classroom facilitation. The training sessions are led by 18 Reasons staff members and experienced Cooking Matters teachers. Each 3-hour session consists of a nutrition lesson, hands-on cooking, and instruction on how to teach Cooking Matters classes. Peer Educators who successfully complete the training go on to teach Cooking Matters classes and lead Cooking Matters at the Store tours in their communities.
Who are our Peer Health Educators?
18 Reasons' Peer Health Educators are at the heart of our work. In Cooking Matters classes, they serve as Cooking Educators and Nutrition Educators. They work together with other community leaders and service agencies to support their peers and neighbors. They are leaders in their communities who are passionate about improving the health of their peers. Peer Educators can connect effectively with our participants because they share a linguistic and cultural background with the students they teach, which helps ensure that our teachers and participants have shared experiences to draw from in class. A Peer Educator is someone who other community members seek out for advice, support, and help in making healthy lifestyle changes.
Peer Educators are typically low-income community members who have not had access to formal education in the culinary or nutrition fields, but who maintain a passion to change the health of their community through nutrition education. Furthermore, Peer Health Educators often have personal connections with organizations and individuals interested in participating in Cooking Matters programming.
Benefits of becoming a Cooking Matters Peer Health Educator:
- Be an important voice in the community
- Support families to live healthier lives
- Become a leader and educator in your community
- Professional development and skill-building
* 18 Reasons cannot offer a salary to our Peer Health Educators, but we do offer a stipend at the end of every Cooking Matters series or Cooking Matters at the Store tour they lead