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Young adults learn life skills at Vogel Resiliency Center workshop

By David DeKunder | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | June 22, 2018

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

Young adults learned about life skills and got a hands-on experience preparing a meal at the Resiliency Day workshop hosted by the Vogel Resiliency Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston June 15.

Fourteen young adults who are high school students or graduated from high school in the San Antonio area attended the workshop. The Resiliency Day course was open to young adults whose parents or family members are JBSA members.

Life skills and topics covered during the workshop included stress management, time management, personal safety, health and nutrition, which included a cooking class in the Vogel Resiliency Center, or VRC, teaching kitchen.

“The young adults are learning good information and skills they can carry throughout life,” said Leslie Noel, Joint Base Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator.

Noel said the life skills the young adults learned are applicable regardless of what direction they take after high school, whether it’s going to college or working full-time.

“The purpose for Resiliency Day for high school students was to create or enhance their resiliency skills and knowledge,” she said.

The students and young adults who participated in the workshop learned about life skills through activities and group discussions.

Robert Collins, a Steele High School senior, said he learned about different causes of stress and stress prevention by attending the workshop.

“I learned about ways to handle stress and ways to organize my time better,” Collins said.

Victoria Ortiz, a senior at Brennan High School, said the tips she learned about stress management, nutrition and organization at the workshop are things she can use when she goes to college.

“Going to college, we will be surrounded by stress,” Ortiz said. “Hearing the tips was very beneficial and helpful for the future.”

“I have personally taken away (from the workshop) is that stress is manageable and that there are ways to manage it, like deep breathing and meditation,” said Jade Born, a senior at Stacey Junior/Senior High School located at JBSA-Lackland.

For their lunch, the students prepared a delicious, nutritious meal of chicken, wraps, ramen noodles and yogurt under the guidance of Sgt. 1st Class Raphael Bonair, U.S. Army North military culinary specialist.

Bonair said he instructed the students on how to utilize ingredients that are both nutritious and versatile and can be used in different types of meals.

“We show them multi-faceted ingredients that can be incorporated in hot and cold meals,” Bonair said. “They learn a lot more on how to cook certain ingredients they can use for a lifetime. Once they do that, the sky’s the limit. With that they stretch their knowledge of different ingredients for different dietary needs.”

Lt. Col. Christine Abraham, Medical Education and Training Campus Ancillary Services department chair, volunteered at the workshop teaching the students cooking skills.

 “One of the things we try to focus the kids on is that cooking can be creative and is a great way to care for others and themselves,” Abraham said. “They have pride in what they have created and try foods they maybe wouldn’t have tested before.”

Alex Nance, a student at East Central High School, said as an experienced cook, the cooking session gave her the opportunity to try different foods and flavors in the meals she prepares.

“The ramen noodles I made before were plain and boring,” Nance said. “The people here showed us a way to open up our food palate (for the ramen noodles).”

Born said she liked being able to try different things when it came to the cooking part of the workshop.

“It’s very interesting because you get hands-on experience with cooking stuff you haven’t done before,” she said. “You add other things to spice up what you are cooking. You don’t have to stick to the recipe.”

Noel said the Resiliency Day workshop was the first ever held at VRC, which opened its doors Jan. 5. She said she hopes to conduct more resiliency classes throughout the upcoming school year and expand those classes to middle school students.

“From the feedback I received from the students, they actually enjoyed it,” Noel said. “They reiterated to me the key points they learned at each section.”