GO GREEN ALL-YEAR!
Story by Allison Olcsvay
Park Maitland School celebrated Earth Day 2014 in style with the return of Mindy Kobrin and her Don’t Worry, Eat Happy program.
An alumna of Park Maitland herself, Kobrin was delighted to share with the students how easy it is to enjoy healthy, happy family dinners much like those she experienced as a child.
At an assembly of more than 600 students, Kobrin shared her tips such as “eat the rainbow,” choosing produce from every color of the rainbow for complete nutrition and to eat what’s in season, because fresh tastes best.
Kobrin, a lifestyle and entertaining expert once based in New York City, grew up here in Central Florida, as she claims, “With a Mickey Mouse cookbook in one hand, and her mother’s heels in the other.”
From an early age, she enjoyed entertaining and sharing healthy meals, and now brings her love of good food and family to the students at Park Maitland.
“To see the kids so appreciative and excited makes it all worth it,” Kobrin said.
Following the assembly, Kobrin treated two second-grade classes to a healthy food party with such menu items as a kale and pineapple super food smoothie, Mediterranean avocado salad bowl, and three-peas-in-a-pod salad.
The party was a reward for students who designed the best Earth Day art.
“The art was so great this year we had a hard time choosing, so we went with the top three and invited their classes to join us,” Kobrin said.
While it may not have garnered the type of excitement an ice cream party would, the kids seemed genuinely excited to be there.
Kobrin chatted amiably with students while preparing the food right before their eyes.
“My parents inspired me to eat healthy,” she told them. “Why don’t you be the ones who inspire your parents?”
“Ten, nine, eight, seven…” counting down the smoothie blender got everyone excited, and by a show of hands more than half the class said they would ask their parents to make the kale-pineapple-flaxseed-coconut milk recipe at home.
“It’s about helping kids realize fresh food, even produce, does taste good and that making it together can be fun,” Kobrin said.
Park Maitland’s Green Ambassadors Club was on hand to help out during the party.
This year the club sold T-shirts for Earth Day, raising more than $800 that will be donated to the Florida Defenders of Wildlife campaign to save endangered Florida panthers.
“I am always wondering how I can make a change,” said fourth grade Green Ambassador Julia H.
Even before it was served, the avocado salad was drawing eager looks from students.
“I can’t wait ‘til we have the salad,” said second-grader Molly G.
Judging by the silence in the room after it was served, the salad, eaten directly out of a halved avocado, was a big hit.
“Food is critical to success in everyday life,” Kobrin said. “That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing this with as many people as I can. Here at Park Maitland, kids learn about leadership, but they also learn that their voices count and the choices they make can bring about change; hopefully they will take some of that with them today.”