Volunteer in Cooking Matters

Volunteering in CM 101

We have lots of dynamic volunteer opportunities, both online and in-person, available for community-minded helpers passionate about sharing their love of healthy home cooking. Please read on to learn more about our volunteer roles, the time commitment we ask of our volunteers, and how to get started as a CM volunteer.

Cooking Matters Volunteer Role Descriptions

Cooking Educator Role Description (In-Person) 
You are a cooking enthusiast! During class, you will lead highly participatory cooking lessons featuring simple, healthy recipes. You will demonstrate and practice basic cooking techniques and terminology, proper knife handling, and food safety and sanitation measures. You will work with the 18 Reasons Program Coordinator and class participants to select recipes for class each week. The coordinator brings the food and cooking equipment — no need to bring anything other than yourself and the instructor manual 18 Reasons will provide you. Required to have a valid CA Food Handler Card, the SafeServ certificate costs $15 and takes about 3-4 hours to complete training, we offer 20% off with the code EMPLOYEE20 

Nutrition Educator Role Description
You do not need to have a professional background as a nutritionist or dietitian to succeed in this role — you just need a love of healthy eating and an eagerness to help others. Some of our nutritionist volunteers do have a background in nutrition, food science, dietetics, or a related field, but it is not required. Class topics include using MyPlate as a tool for healthy eating, planning balanced meals, eating healthier fats, food budgeting, serving sizes, reading nutrition labels, and physical activity. The classes are intended to be interactive, and the nutrition educator facilitates open-minded conversation in class using activities, lesson plans, and visual aids provided by 18 Reasons. Required to have a valid CA Food Handler Card, the SafeServ certificate costs $15 and takes about 3-4 hours to complete training, we offer 20% off with the code EMPLOYEE20 

Class Assistant Role Description
Class assistants primarily help the teaching team with classroom set-up, food preparation, and cleaning up. Class assistants often do interact with students to help support their learning. Common class assistant duties include packing groceries for participants to take home, loading/unloading kitchen equipment, and washing dishes. Many people volunteer as a class assistant for their first series, although it is not required to serve as a class assistant before taking on a teaching role as the Chef Educator or Nutrition Educator. Required to have a valid CA Food Handler Card, the SafeServ certificate costs $15 and takes about 3-4 hours to complete training, we offer 20% off with the code EMPLOYEE20 

Cooking Matters at Home Volunteer Role Descriptions
(Virtual)

Online Cooking Educator: 
You are a cooking enthusiast! During class, you will lead highly participatory cooking lessons featuring simple, healthy recipes. You will demonstrate and practice basic cooking techniques and terminology, proper knife handling, and food safety and sanitation measures. You will work with the 18 Reasons Program Coordinator and class participants to select recipes for class each week. Students will receive Cook-it-kits to cook alongside you, and each class will end with a delicious and healthy meal! You will be responsible for providing clear and visible audio and video set-up into your kitchen and cutting board, and for gathering your own ingredients, though 18 Reasons can provide a limited stipend for each class. 

Online Nutrition Educator:
You do not need to have a professional background as a nutritionist or dietitian to succeed in this role — you just need a love of healthy eating and an eagerness to help others. Some of our nutritionist volunteers do have a background in nutrition, food science, dietetics, or a related field, but it is not required. Class topics include using MyPlate as a tool for healthy eating, planning balanced meals, eating healthier fats, food budgeting, serving sizes, reading nutrition labels, and physical activity. The classes are intended to be interactive, and the nutrition educator facilitates open-minded conversation in class using activities, lesson plans, and visual aids provided by 18 Reasons. 

Time Commitment

CM classes meet once a week for six weeks. and we ask that volunteers are able to commit to a full series. Classes are held anytime between 9:00am and 8:00pm, Tuesday-Friday.
 Each week, Cooking Matters classes require a time commitment of class time, plus 30 minutes of prep time before class, and up to 30 minutes of clean-up after class (so that's 3 hours per week).
 In addition, communication (via email) with the Cooking Matters Program Coordinator about class scheduling, curriculum, etc. is expected. 
Volunteers are encouraged to contribute to all aspects of the class, including set-up, clean-up, and food preparation.

COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination Requirement

As of June 1, 2021 we are requiring our teaching team including our staff, peer health educators, and volunteers to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (2 weeks after finishing a 2-dose or 1-dose course of vaccination) when working in-person. Vaccinations are one of the most effective preventative measures in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. Our Cooking Matters classes are offered to some of the most vulnerable populations and we want to assure that we are keeping the communities we serve safe. Thank you for your understanding.

Volunteer Benefits

We love our volunteers! In addition to creating and empowering community through food, volunteers receive one meal per class, training and coaching, and are invited to volunteer appreciation celebrations! Volunteers also earn a complimentary membership to 18 Street Kitchen after 2 series, and a complimentary ticket to their choice of 18th Street Kitchen class after volunteering for 3 Cooking Matters series in year! 

How to Become a CM Volunteer

1. Fill out a volunteer application
Please complete the volunteer applicationAn 18 Reasons staff member will follow up with you within a week.

2. Complete the self-led volunteer trainings online
Watch all the 18 Reasons online volunteer training videos and read and review the Volunteer Handbook, including the Gold Standards. 

3. Submit proof of the COVID-19 Vaccination and valid CA Food Handler card (In-Person Volunteers)
It is required that all in-person volunteers submit proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and have a valid CA Food Handler card. Please submit here or email cookingmattersvolunteers@18reasons.org copies of these documents. We are able to offer reimbursement for the SafeServ Food Handler card if needed. 

4. Shadow an ongoing Cooking Matters class 
When you visit an ongoing class series, the 18 Reasons Program Coordinator on site will walk you step-by-step through a typical Cooking Matters class. You’ll have the chance to observe other volunteers teaching and ask any questions you have about the program. This is available for both in-person and online classes. Please email CookingMattersVolunteers@18reasons.org for available classes and to sign up. 

5. Sign up for an open volunteer position
We post new volunteer positions as they become available, and we fill them on a first come, first served basis. To sign up, please review our class schedule below and email us to let us know what series and role you're interested in. We also send out a monthly volunteer newsletter with available positions. 

6. Attend a pre-class meeting
Once you are signed up to volunteer in a CM series, your series' Program Coordinator will invite you to a pre-class meeting, wherein you will meet fellow members of the teaching team, get to know the classroom space, receive a copy of the curriculum, and prepare for your first class meeting with participants.

Available Volunteer Opportunities

Open volunteer roles will be listed in italics underneath the class

In-Person Volunteer Positions

***All in-person volunteer positions should plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of class time to help with set-up and plan to stay up to 30 minutes after class time to help with clean up. 

San Francisco

Cooking Matters for Kids
3:30 - 5pm* Tuesdays Feb 2 - March 8
KIPP Bayview Academy 1060 Key Ave, San Francisco, CA 
All positions filled 

Cooking Matters for Adults
10:30am - 12pm* Tuesdays Feb 8th - March 15th
Booker T Washington Community Service Center 800 Presidio Ave, San Francisco, CA
Nutrition Instructor Needed

Cooking Matters for Teens
4:45 - 6:15pm* Wednesdays Feb 9th - March 16th
College Track San Francisco 4301 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 
All Positions Filled

Cooking Matters for Teens
10:30 - 12pm* Fridays Feb 4th - March 4th
Balboa High School 1000 Cayuga Ave, San Francisco, CA 
Chef Instructor Needed

Cooking Matters for Teens
10:30 - 12pm* Fridays March 11th - April 8th
Balboa High School 1000 Cayuga Ave, San Francisco, CA 
Nutrition Instructor Needed, Class Assistant Needed

Cooking Matters for Teens
1:15 - 3pm* Wednesdays 4/13/21 - 5/25 (skip week of 5/18) 
Abraham Lincoln HS 2162 24th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94116
Nutrition Instructor Needed, Chef Instructor Needed, Class Assistant Needed

Alameda County 

Cooking Matters for Teens 
3:00-4:00pm* Tuesdays, January 25 - March 1st
Lincoln High School, 2600 Teagarden St., San Leandro CA
Class Assistant Needed 
*Background check and TB test required to assist with this series

Cooking Matters for Kids 
2:35-3:50pm* Thursdays, January 29th - March 3rd
Sylvia Mendez Elementary School, 2840 Ellsworth St, Berkeley, CA 94705
Cooking Instructor Needed 

Cooking Matters for Teens 
2:30-4:00pm* Wednesdays, February 9th - March 16th
West Oakland Middle School, 991 14th St, Oakland, CA 94607
Nutrition Instructor, Cooking Instructor, Class Assistant Needed 

Cooking Matters for Kids 
3:00-4:30pm* Fridays, February 11th - March 18th
Burckhalter Elementary School, 3994 Burckhalter Ave, Oakland, CA 94605
Nutrition Instructor, Cooking Instructor, Class Assistant Needed 

Contra Costa  

Cooking Matters for Kids 
3:00 - 4:30pm* Wednesdays, February 2 - March 16 (no class 2/23)
Dover Elementary School, 1870 19th St., San Pablo, CA 94806 
Nutrition Instructor Needed 

Cooking Matters for Teens 
3:40 - 5:10pm* Thursdays, February 3 - March 17 (no class 2/24)
Richmond High School, 1250 23rd St., Richmond, CA
Nutrition Instructor Needed 

Cooking Matters for Teens 
3:30 - 5:00pm* Fridays, February 4 - March 18 (no class 2/25) 
Kennedy High, 4300 Cutting Blvd, Richmond, CA 94804
Class Assistant Needed 

Cooking Matters for Kids 

3:15 - 4:45pm* Tuesdays, February 1 - March 15 (no class 2/22) 
Helms Middle School, 2500 Road 20, San Pablo, CA 94806
Nutrition Instructor and Class Assistant Needed 

Cooking Matters for Kids 
1:00 - 2:30pm* Wednesdays, February 2 - March 16 (no class 2/23)
Riverside Elementary School, 1300 Amador St, San Pablo, CA 94806
Nutrition Instructor and Class Assistant Needed 

Cooking Matters para Familias (Spanish)
4:00 - 6:00pm* Tuesdays, February 15 - March 22 
Lifelong William Jenkins Health Center, 150 Harbour Way Suite 200, Richmond, CA 94801
Spanish-speaking Nutrition Instructor and Class Assistant Needed 

Cooking Matters for Families
5:00 - 7:00pm* Tuesdays, March  - April 5
San Pablo Community Center, 2450 Road 20, San Pablo, CA 
Cooking Instructor, Nutrition Instructor, and Class Assistant Needed 

Cooking Matters for Adults 
10:00 am - 12:00pm* Wednesdays, March 9 - April 13
Brentwood Senior Commons, 750 Larkspur Lane, Brentwood, CA 94513 
Nutrition Instructor and Classroom Assistant Needed 

Online Volunteer Positions

Adults and Seniors

Cooking Matters at Home
9:30am-11:00am Thursdays, January 20 - February 24 (6 week series)
Meeting on Zoom in partnership with Lifelong East Oakland
All Positions Filled

Cooking Matters at Home
11am-12:30pm Thursdays, February 10 - March 3 (4 week series)
Meeting on Zoom in partnership with Openhouse SF
All Positions Filled

Families and Parents

Cooking Matters for Parents
1:00 - 2:30pm Thursdays, January 27 - March 3
Meeting on Zoom in partnership with West County First Five 
All Positions Filled

Cooking Matters for Parents 
11:30 - 1:00pm Thursday, March 10 (one-time event)
Meeting on Zoom in partnership with Community Services Bureau
Online Cooking Instructor Needed 

Kids and Teens

Cooking Matters for Teens 
4:30 - 5:45pm Wednesdays, Feb. 16 - March 3 
Meeting on Zoom in partnership with City Youth Now
Online Cooking Instructor Needed, Online Nutrition Instructor Needed

Contact Us

If you have questions about volunteering with the Cooking Matters program or would like to sign up for one of the positions listed above, please email us at CookingMattersVolunteers@18reasons.org.