Volunteer of the Month: April 2017

Congrats to Megan Braden-Perry, our April Volunteer of the Month! This spring, Megan lead a food writing workshop in the Writers' Room at Sylvanie Williams College Prep. She brought delicious smells of BBQ sauce to the Writers' Room, and her class wrote a memorable ode to pizza (and feet-za), and learned to cook simple, healthy dishes. Thanks for all your hard work, Megan!

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What first brought you to Big Class?
Kelly Harris-DeBerry told Doug Keller about me, and how I had some connections with restaurants. He had me contact a few for Dark and Stormy Night, and later he told me a bit about the program. Later, he asked if I'd be able to volunteer, and I was. It was perfect because I get to choose what I want to teach and because it's not a huge time commitment. 

What keeps you coming back?
Kids are just so funny! In the cookbook writing/healthy cooking class I taught, I learned the kids at Sylvanie F. Williams love wings and Magnolia Specials more than anything!

What are some skills you have that help you out at Big Class?
I've always loved children and teaching, so that helps. Also I'm very type A in life, but not in the classroom. I just want the kids to learn and have fun. As long as everyone is learning, happy and safe, I'm glad.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced at Big Class?
The only challenge I faced was when I had to tell kids who weren't signed up for the program that they would have to be good in class and wait until the next session to hopefully be selected by their teachers. "Y'all going to Big Class? Can I come? Hmph, I wanna go to Big Class!" The students and all the grownups at the school are amazing.

What are some great projects you’ve helped with? Tell us the story behind one of them if you can.
My idea was to make a healthy cookbook with recipes kids could actually cook themselves. When you're in 3rd grade, you want to help at home and you want to do things yourself. I remember being that age and trying to cook, but having trouble with the cookbooks in the house. I knew how to make scrambled eggs, but that was it. Hopefully grownups will buy this cookbook for kids, so that they can learn how to cook healthy dishes. There are even some amazing gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and nut-free dishes!

What are you up to when you’re not volunteering with us?
My second book, Crescent City Snow: The Ultimate Guide to New Orleans Snowball Stands, is out now. I have an Instagram account for it (www.instagram.com/crescentcitysnow) where I go to even more snowball stands, some as far as Houston! For the book I went to 50 stands and interviewed 50 people, so I've been trying to catch up with all of them. I'm finally graduating from Dillard in May and my son turns 3 in June. Also, I'll be doing TeachNOLA this summer and starting my creative nonfiction MFA coursework at UNO this fall. I'm very blessed and incredibly thankful.