Staff shadowing develops better relationships

January 14, 2020

The idiom, “walk a mile in my shoes,” has been attributed to several cultural origins, and it  even became the title of an Elvis Presley song.  Although the Food Bank of Delaware’s President & CEO Patricia Beebe didn’t quote song lyrics in her late October internal email, she encouraged Food Bank staffers to develop a better understanding of one another’s responsibility by shadowing. Each quarter, staffers are asked to spend a work day with someone in another department to learn more about that person’s Food Bank life.

Beebe walked the walk, so to speak, and announced that she would shadow WIC Education Specialist Chong Yi.  Yi is based at the Food Bank’s Milford site, and moved forward on lesson plans for her Dec. 19 site visit to Telamon’s Harrington branch. Telamon offers early childhood education and family support, and Yi’s lessons targeted 3 to 5-year-old classes.

This day’s lessons focused on apples, and Yi used the opportunity to talk about colors – red and green – as well as fruit and tastes. Students lined up to wash their hands before tasting their Red Delicious and Granny Smith apple slices.

Kids tasted one variety at a time, indicating by a show of hands then coloring in a smiley face whether they liked the taste, or if they did not.

Yi praised students for participating in the tasting experiments. “You guys are great. You tried, and if you didn’t like them, maybe at another time.”

The lesson concluded with some creative expression: students enjoyed fingerpainting apples growing on trees.

Beebe was pleased with her “walk in someone else’s shoes.” “It’s a way for people to learn what other people are doing. It builds teamwork,” she said, noting that the concept came from a staff member.

“It [shadowing] builds better understanding. I found it helpful and enlightening. And the students were very well behaved,” Beebe added.

The Food Bank of Delaware’s WIC Education also teaches pregnant and new moms how they can prepare nutritious easy meals made from food on their food vouchers. WIC Outreach aims to increase the retention rate of WIC-eligible children.

Visit www.fbd.org for more information about programs offered by the Food Bank of Delaware.

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