Jill is one of our National Nutrition Advisors and she is ready to support your efforts to improve your program.
Connect with Jill
Head over to our Training Center where you can learn about new trends from Jill and share your ideas and best practices with other school leaders.
1. What is it that you really do at the Alliance?
I do all things food and nutrition at the Alliance! As a National Nutrition Advisor, I support both the Healthy Schools Program, as well as the Healthy Out-of-School Time Initiative. For the Healthy Schools Program, I help schools change their competitive foods and beverages. That means I help them make changes to the foods and beverages that they either sell or serve on their campuses that are not part of the USDA reimbursable meals. For the Healthy Out-of-School Time Initiative, I help out-of-school time sites implement healthy eating practices, which may include changes to their foods and beverages, accessing federal reimbursement, policy changes, staff training or changes to the environment that support healthy eating.
2. What has brought you and kept you in this line of work?
My passion for kid’s health brought me to the Alliance, and has kept me here for over two years. In my current role, I get to couple my love for food and nutrition with that passion for youth, which is a win-win for me. I get to translate my foodie into my work!
3. Why schools or out-of-school time?
I am a firm believer that we need to teach youth about food and nutrition and grow a generation that understands the relationship between food and health. In schools and out-of-school time, we have a captive audience where we can do that. Because youth spend so much time in school and out-of-school time, we have the opportunity to educate them and spark their interest in food and nutrition.
4. On the rare, almost nonexistent, occurrence when you’re not being healthy, what is your guilty pleasure?
Cupcakes. I love them.
5. Are there any changes or developments in the school or out-of-school time health space that have caught your attention and you are excited to see continued?
The cooking programs that both schools and out-of-school time sites are starting are fantastic. I can’t wait to see how these programs continue to grow and develop. Cafeterias as classrooms is a trend that I hope to see implemented on a large scale.
6. If you were just starting to make healthy change at your school or out-of-school time setting, what would be the first thing on your to do list?
Pause for a minute and figure out where my school or site stands – what does the food and nutrition landscape look like? From there, it is much easier to set incremental goals to make change. You have to know where you start to know where you want to go! Then start a cooking program for youth.
7. Do you have any “unique” physical activity practices (e.g. do you partake in roller derby)?
I do endurance sports. I love triathlon, and I finished my first Ironman in August. My next goal is a marathon swim – 9-12 miles somewhere.
8. What is your favorite part of your job?
The people! Both school and site staff, as well as my colleagues. I am privileged to interact with people every day in schools, in out-of-school time settings and with co-workers who are also passionate about kid’s health and are striving to make changes to help get this generation to eat better and move more.
Or Content Support Manager, Dana Roberts