Cooking Matters recently participated in the Annual Summit for Teen Empowerment and Parenting Success (STEPS). The summit, organized by the Center for Community Health and Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, provides a safe and empowering forum for young parents to learn together and access resources to help them accomplish their goals.
During STEPS, a group of young women served as “young parent ambassadors” for the program. In addition to being parents, students, workers and more, these women helped to organize the event, select the speakers, and co-lead the various sessions to ensure that all presentations were given with a young parent’s perspective. Grace, a young woman whose son Christian was born when she was still in high school, chose to help at the Cooking Matters session. Grace got involved in STEPS because of the importance she places on social support. Being able to go through her pregnancy with a group of other expecting young mothers was an amazing resource for her, and she deeply wanted to give that support to others as well.
During the summit, Grace and a group of her peers participated in a Cooking Matters at the Store tour. They poured over package labels, asked countless questions, and shared their own personal stories and struggles as young parents trying to cook healthy and affordable food for their kids. After the tour, Grace commented, “For me, frozen fruits and veggies are often a lot cheaper and I now feel better buying them knowing that they’re just as healthy.” She also learned a lot about packaging, marketing, and reading labels. Grace finished the tour feeling better prepared to shop for her 2-year-old son. As a result, Grace felt empowered to make healthy choices for her son’s meals.