GRAND JUNCTION, CO – If anyone understands how life can take an unexpected turn, it’s Jeanette. She set out to work in nutrition very early on, but for one reason or another, she was unable to achieve her dream of becoming a dietitian. After settling down and starting a family, Jeanette faced a difficult life circumstance when she had to flee her home and violent marriage.
Jeanette says, “I ended up moving into a women’s shelter in 2014. I left all my belongings, and my daughter and I moved in [to the shelter].”
Though Jeanette faced significant hardship, she felt uplifted by the Mesa County community. She says the community “came together, and they helped [them] put back [their] lives.” When Jeanette got back on her feet, she felt a strong desire to give back with the same kindness she had received. “I ended up getting a full-time desk job, and the whole time, all I wanted to do was give back to the community,” she says. She sought out multiple volunteer opportunities, but has fallen in love with Cooking Matters Colorado.
Jeanette volunteered for a Cooking Matters course and was immediately hooked. “It’s something anyone can benefit from, regardless of income,” she says. “I see it as a fire starting, you know, I feel like there’s so much potential for this program to grow…it seems like it benefits people so much that you can literally see them growing in the class.”
With her background in nutrition, Jeanette feels like Cooking Matters is the perfect fit for her. She’s passionate about healthy eating and says food skills education is “education where it matters most.” Though Jeanette spends most of her volunteer time teaching, she feels she’s also learning from participants’ experiences. She reflects on feeling inspired by helping participants make healthy meals with the ingredients they have access to, and she enjoys “working with [participants], starting with where they are and building from there.”
Jeanette has high hopes for her involvement with Cooking Matters as she gets more involved with the Mesa County community. “My heart is totally in it,” she says. “I’m going to do it as much as I can.”
Though life can bring unexpected hardships, it can also bring unexpected opportunities. Jeanette’s strength and drive turned lemons into lemonade, and she has found a new home with the Cooking Matters community.
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