As a former writer, copy editor and teacher, Sophia Ulmer had no idea what her future had in store.
These days, however, the 30-year-old is spending her time teaching community members how to work with, prepare, and eat more healthy food.
“We need programs like this,” Ulmer said. “Food is everything and education is everything. It’s imperative that we empower people to make well-informed food choices.”
Ulmer is one of a handful of folks teaching classes around the community called Healing Kitchen, a program sponsored by the local group Brightpoint. The name actually is an acronym for Healthy Eating Active Living.
Funded by grants from the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and Parkview Health, the classes have been around for about three years, according to Brightpoint Vice President of Operations, Sherry Early-Aden.
The classes are held at seven different locations around the city, including Hopewell Pointe here in Waynedale. That class, being held at 8033 Community Lane, will be going on for the next eight Tuesdays, according to Brightpoint.
The classes last for about eight weeks. Each session includes education about healthy food, as well as a cooking demonstration. Students also are given a 165-page Brightpoint book called Our Healing Kitchen that offers information on healthy foods, as well as more than 20 recipes to get people started on their journey toward healthy cooking and eating.
On a recent Monday afternoon, Ulmer settled down with about 10 residents of Ryker Reserve Senior Living, located at 1825 Laverne Avenue, and some of their family members, teaching them about healthy ingredients, then showing them how to use those things to make a delicious cold corn and bean salad.
After teaching the seniors and their families about each ingredient and showing them how to chop and prepare it, Ulmer passed out samples to her hungry classroom.
According to Early-Aden, the classes don’t just give folks a chance to sample delicious and healthy fare, but it helps improve their life as well.
“It’s really meant to be fun and interactive,” Early-Aden said. “It’s just a great way to introduce new foods and improve these people’s quality of life.”
Those interested in taking the classes, or who just want more information, should log on to Brightpoint’s website, at www.mybrightpoint.org. Those interested in actually taking the course should make sure they RSVP for the class, in order to ensure the instructor has enough materials for all the students who’ll be attending. People should call Monica Woods at Brightpoint to RSVP, (260) 423-3546, ext. 269.