Jessica Fisher, an undergraduate student in the Joint Program between the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Columbia University, which offers students the opportunity to earn two simultaneous degrees—one in Jewish Studies and the other in liberal arts—is working hard to give disadvantaged children in New York City a healthier future.
As part of her efforts as a List College Fellow in Jewish Social Entrepreneurship (FJSE), Jessica served as intern and program assistant at the Nourishing Kitchen of New York, a community food program devoted to providing nutritional education to the underprivileged during the spring of 2010. For her efforts, she was awarded the Elie Schwartz Memorial Scholarship, which provided her with funding to continue her work at the organization throughout the summer.
Due in large part to a grant proposal written by Ms. Fisher during her tenure at the Kitchen, the organization was chosen from among 178 institutions as the winner of Post Cereal’s $25,000 Grant for Good Health. Ms. Fisher and the Kitchen staff ran an aggressive media campaign to garner votes for their win: they produced videos that featured celebrities such as Ke$ha, The Rock, and the stars of the popular Twilight Saga movies. The Kitchen staff also participated in New York City’s Puerto Rican Day Parade and sent out frequent updates via Twitter and Facebook.
The Post Cereal grant, which was accepted at a ceremony in July, will go toward the Junior Chef Program, which will teach East Harlem children about healthy eating habits, facilitate culinary workshops, and allow the children the opportunity to tend to the Nourishing Kitchen’s community garden.
Ms. Fisher is grateful to JTS and the FJSE program for allowing her the opportunity to work at the Nourishing Kitchen. “Being an FJSE fellow gave me the opportunity to engage with my school in new ways, for I was exposed to new types of social innovation and problem solving strategies. This type of practical education was incredibly valuable. After six months at the Kitchen, I am even more certain that this is not only a career path that interests me, but is work that is crucial to the health of this country and its people regardless of their social, economic, or ethnic background.”
Ms. Fisher, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, is majoring in Midrash at List College and History at Columbia. In the spring of 2009, she studied abroad in Ecuador, where she performed a field study on a rural public health clinic. Ms. Fisher has also worked for the Child Policy Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and was a health educator for Peer Health Exchange. Truly inspired by her experience as an FJSE fellow at the Nourishing Kitchen, Ms. Fisher has become interested in working professionally with low-income families on matters of nutrition and health education. She plans to supplement her academic training by attending culinary school in New York City.
For further information about the List College Fellowship in Jewish Social Entrepreneurship program, please contact Rebecca Hammerman, assistant dean, at (212) 678-8826 or firstname.lastname@example.org.