Scholarship Recipient Eliana Valenzuela Recognizes the Importance of Healthy School Meals
Eliana Valenzuela Cabriales received the 2022 Casey Feldman Foundation PIIE Scholarship and was the fourth recipient to have selected a summer internship with the Chef Ann Foundation. Through the Public Interest Internship Experience Program (PIIE), students receive funding from the Casey Feldman Foundation for a summer internship at a non-profit or government agency. At the Chef Ann Foundation, the non-profit organization works with school districts throughout the country by providing the resources and funding needed to provide fresh, healthy meals in school.
Based in Boulder, CO, the Chef Ann Foundation was founded in 2009 by Chef Ann Cooper, who served as the Director of Food Services for the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). With a mission of ensuring that students receive healthy, delicious meals made from scratch, the Chef Ann Foundation has impacted 13,533 schools and has reached approximately 3.3 million
Currently a junior at the University of Colorado Boulder, Eliana is majoring in journalism with a minor in sports media. Her decision to intern with the Chef Ann Foundation was largely due to her own experience with food while a student in the BVSD. Eliana had the opportunity to experience school lunches both before and after the Chef Ann Foundation began their work there.
“I remember going to elementary school when there was no salad bar and there was all heat and serve food and it was all pre-packaged,” Eliana said. “After that, I remember when the pizza changed from being bought somewhere else to the school making it.”
In a blog post titled “Lessons from the Lunchroom and Beyond,” written for her internship at the Chef Ann Foundation, Eliana recalls noticing a change in the school food between her 2nd and 3rd grade years. One of the changes included a salad bar that was stationed in the middle of the cafeteria. Eliana said at the time, she did not realize it was possible to have a salad bar with many different vegetable options in her school cafeteria.
“I think that’s why I chose the foundation because I, myself, was able to experience that change,” Eliana said.
During her internship, Eliana had the opportunity to meet Chef Ann. In her blog post, Eliana said she did not realize the influence that Chef Ann had on the food she was eating throughout her K-12 education until she began her internship at the foundation.
“She’s the whole reason it started,” Eliana said about Chef Ann starting the foundation. “So, getting to meet her was pretty big. Honestly, it was a pleasure to get to meet her.”
While interning, Eliana had several administrative tasks for the foundation, including translating documents and conducting research. She also had the opportunity to learn about what the Chef Ann Foundation does and the different types of schools the non-profit supports. Eliana was also able to meet many of the people who work at the foundation during a week-long conference during the summer.
“Everyone on that team has been amazing,” Eliana said. “I loved all of them and I don’t want to leave them. But honestly, it’s the relationships that I’ve built with everyone that was probably the best part about it.”
Eliana said she loved interning at the nonprofit and could not have asked for a better internship place at the Chef Ann Foundation.