My Internship with Growing Chefs! by Joei Benjathikul
In January 2014, I was extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to work at this amazing organization. After university, I had started off in an internship role with minimal skills and a shortage of work experience. However, I am glad to share that my time spent here alongside volunteer coordinator/program assistant Caroline Walder and the Growing Chefs! Executive Director Helen Stortini has been an extremely worthwhile experience. While it took me some time to learn the ropes, both of these individuals were remarkably patient, mindful, and understanding of me and my circumstance as an intern.
Throughout these last seven months with Growing Chefs!, I have developed skills in volunteer coordination and the facilitation of a program as part of a non-profit. As important however, were the many memorable experiences I have had with the staff and the organization’s incredible teachers and volunteers. Although I did not know what to expect when embarking on this position, I have largely become familiar with gardening and cooking vegetables while my love for children have grown immensely. I have had the joyous experience of learning to plant seeds, cook vegetable stir-fry, and interact with children in a capacity that I have not experienced before. There has been much laughter in each lesson that I have attended and I will miss seeing kids’ faces light up each time they realize a volunteer team from Growing Chefs! would be instructing them in the next hour. Furthermore, I have learned much about the functioning of an elementary classroom in Vancouver. I have had the opportunity to meet many passionate, tireless, and hardworking educators. They are amazing in their ability to manage children on a daily basis and I am impressed with their work.
Most significant during my time here is Helen Stortini’s and Caroline Walder’s contribution to my personal and professional growth. These individuals have prioritized my development despite of their other duties and have created a work environment in the office that I can comfortably fit in to. They both were consistently considerate, flexible, and supportive of me as I performed my duties. As such, I am grateful and I wanted to take my time to show my appreciation and my thankfulness towards them and this wonderful organization. As I move on from this position, I wanted to share my confidence and support in this organization’s future growth and expansion while wishing it continual success.