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Cooking As Therapy

Follow Up from Mrs. Berkhammer:

As we enter month two of the lunch program, I was thinking a little bit about JPII this time last year. What a difference a year’s time can make. We have definitely made progress! We have evolved and made huge strides in the right direction. 

Today, we currently have three lunch groups made up of three students each week. We welcomed Mrs. Lloyd back to JPII as a part-time kitchen assistant. She is truly an asset to the program and JPII wherever she helps out. Mrs. Lloyd has Occupational Therapy (OT) experience as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and helps anywhere she is needed. Often in the kitchen, we need to break down large tasks into smaller ones for the success of the students. All of our related services staff help us “think outside of the box,” work with students in the kitchen and apply direct therapies directly in the working space. Speech, behavior, and OT all apply in the kitchen area! Measuring, portion sizes, rolling, reading, following directions, it all goes hand in hand! 

Recently we made chicken burgers for lunch. Yes, you read that right! For the chicken burger, we made them from scratch and had to consider portions, counts, size, and appearance. We used a 6oz scoop and Melissa used her flattened palm to press the scoop of chicken into a perfectly round and beautiful chicken burger. If there was a mistake or a misshapen patty it was put back into the bowl and reformed. Having experienced staff that have a background in other areas like OT, for example, really helps! This is just one example of applying OT in the kitchen space. 

Each of the staff brings their experience to every aspect of the program. Experience is vital to running a great program that benefits the students. The wonderful staff that gives their all to the mission, are truly a blessing to JPII and the programs that are offered throughout the school. One day soon in the future, I hope you will be able to join us again for lunch at JPII. I often think that food brings people together. Our small JPII lunch program offers great hope for the future. 

God Bless us all at JPII and our JPII Family. 

Love & Hope, 

Mrs. Berkhammer 

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