Jessica Soldavini, a Graduate Research Assistant for No Kid Hungry, recently received a Community Engagement Fellowship for her Food for the Summer project.
The Community Engagement Fellowship program awards a maximum of seven fellowships of up to $2,000 each year to develop and implement engagement or engaged scholarship projects that employ innovative, sustainable approaches to complex social needs and have an academic connection. Returning, full-time graduate students at UNC-Chapel Hill are eligible to apply. Previous fellows are eligible to apply for an additional year of funding. Fellows work in collaboration with community partners and faculty mentors who are familiar with their topics or geographic areas, while fellows are responsible for the major planning and implementation of their projects. The fellowships run from March-November with project implementation occurring during the summer.
Soldavini’s Food for the Summer project provides free meals and enrichment activities for children up to 18 years old who live in low-income areas in Chapel Hill and Carrboro during the summer when school is out. Last summer, the program used an innovative model to serve more than 48,000 meals. This project will evaluate of the Food for the Summer program in partnership with an evaluation subcommittee. Teen ambassadors from the neighborhoods served by Food for the Summer will also be engaged in the project. Evaluation methods include analyzing Summer Food Service program data; developing tracking systems for activities; and conducting surveys, interviews and/or focus groups with program participants and other key stakeholders. Evaluation results will be used to identify program outcomes and successes, determine which program components are most successful and identify areas of improvement. Results will also help secure future funding and inform a sustainability. Evaluation results will be shared with other communities to help inform Summer Nutrition Program efforts across the state and country.
For more information on the Community Engagement Fellowship, as well as other recipients of the award, click here.