On 28 June 2018 YMCA RSAS Newman held a 'Fuel2Learn' community cook up event in Newman town square. Over 80 locals attended the evening event, where nine RSAS students from Newman Senior High School (NSHS), led by Sue Lovett, YMCA RSAS Coordinator and Courtney Moyes, Home Economics teacher at NSHS, together with a further 10 volunteers, prepared and cooked approximately 100 meals in a commercial kitchen, provided by The Edge Kitchen using ingredients donated by Woolworths Newman, for their families and the local community. In the background RSAS ran a slide show on the big screen of the students in action, whilst the crowds and special guests, YMCA CEO Ross Kyrwood, and Executive Manager – Service Delivery, Shane Mauger, Save The Children volunteers, NSHS staff and off duty YMCA staff enjoyed the stylings of a local year 12 student who sang and played guitar.
Whilst a variety of healthy options were being cooked, including beef rissoles, mashed potato and salad, generously provided by Woolworths Newman, the student's younger siblings watched on in awe through the glass kitchen doors, saying to passer-by's "that's my brother" or in some cases, sister.
The Fuel2Learn initiative was first started by RSAS to help increase school attendance by providing a healthy breakfast on the school bus, but the program has evolved to provide hot lunches in school, and now RSAS students are learning to cook and assisting in the cooking of up to 100 meals a week for fellow students.
As a result of the program school attendance figures have certainly grown. During the evening RSAS presented Awards for Attendance in the form of food hampers, donated by Woolworths Newman, which contained the student's favourite recipe and all the necessary ingredients so they could make it at home. One young man won the Most Improved Award; his attendance level has grown from 0% in March to over 60% by June and he actively participates in the Fuel2Learn program every week. In fact, his father was so proud of him, when his son received his Award his father ran up on stage to get a photo with his son.
Sue Lovett, YMCA RSAS Coordinator, explained "The program has grown in success over the past few months and it was so rewarding to see the student's faces light up from all the positive feedback coming from the community."
YMCA WA CEO, Ross Kyrwood, commended the success of the program.
"It is inspiring to see firsthand the positive impact The Y is having on local communities. The program has achieved such positive outcomes in a relatively short period of time."
The evening was a great success with the event generating a real sense of community and pride for the young people. The RSAS students were so enthusiastic they suggested cooking for their families every week!
Check out our favourite pictures of the event on our Facebook page here.