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2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Cindy Gershen

2017 All-Star Teacher finalist Cindy Gershen

Chef and teacher Cindy Gershen, founder of Walnut Creek’s Sunrise Bistro restaurant and the Wellness City Challenge non-profit, created a remarkable Sustainable Hospitality Program at Concord’s Mt. Diablo High School. Focused on the science of food through culinary arts, gardening, and nutrition, the program is now an integral part of district’s curriculum and an Innovation Center for programs that can be replicated.

Cindy prepares young people for employment as professionals in the healthy food service industry. Students are taught to prepare nutritious meals that are served to other students including campus sports teams and faculty members. The curriculum incorporates the “do no harm” revolution taking place in the Hospitality industry promoting standards of business good for the environment, workers, and consumers. Another part of the curriculum is the “state of the art” growing technique utilizing vertical tower gardens in classroom and outdoor environments.

Cindy’s senior class focuses on Career Technical Education (CTE) through topics such as farm-totable and farm-to-cafeteria with hands-on experience on the process of planting, growing, and harvesting produce and entrepreneurship through catering. Her students also promote health and wellness through a district wide “Water Drinking Campaign”.

She continues to expand youth education programs with a recently started culinary, growing and nutrition program for 4th graders.

In her new role as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for Mount Diablo Unified School District, Cindy is launching Educatering to support the healthy food needs of the cafeteria, administrative staff, and local community through student driven recipes and products by providing non-packaged, nonprocessed healthy food. Her goal is “Teachers in the best condition to teach, and students in the best condition to learn.”

Cindy’s programs are remarkably effective in creating social change. They merge theories and principles with hands-on professional level activities. And her programs take a prevention approach to the epidemics of obesity and diabetes occurring in our schools. She continually reminds students that they should “Eat well to be well out in the world.” 

Her non-profit, Wellness City Challenge, hosts the Annual Contra Costa County Mayors’ Healthy Cook-off. Students from her programs team up with local officials as “sous chefs.” Local leaders become advocates on building healthy communities through the education system. Also through Wellness City Challenge, an after-school program supports at-risk youth by covering topics such as nutrition and culinary education, personal empowerment and entrepreneurship. 

Several state and local groups have given Cindy awards for her health and wellness advocacy including the California Assembly District 14 “Woman of the Year” award. Cindy is also co-author of the The Fat Chance Cookbook (Hudson Street Press January 2014) with Robert H. Lustig, MD, a Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH Program at UCSF), and author of the bestselling book Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease.

Bay Area athletes react to deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas

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AP

Bay Area athletes react to deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas

At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 wounded when a gunman opened fire on an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Current and former Bay Area athletes woke up to the tragic news. Here's how the players and teams reacted:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BZwBK1sgu7J/

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

What they're saying: Athletes, teams remember victims of 9/11

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AP

What they're saying: Athletes, teams remember victims of 9/11

On the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bay Area athletes and teams took to social media to honor the victims of that tragic day.

#NeverForget the tragic attacks on 9/11/2001. We remember the lives lost, and honor all first responders and service members who have served and are serving to protect our safety and freedom. #PatriotDay (#Repost @winsforwarriors) On the 16th Anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, we remember the over 3,000 lives lost that day, and we recognize the heroic first responders and service members who have pledged their lives to our safety and freedom. On Saturday we hosted the inaugural Patriot Ruck to show our strength and support in numbers for these incredible Americans. "We are here for the police officer who risks his or her life every day to keep us safe. We are here for the firefighter who willingly enters a burning building to save a complete stranger. We are here for the EMT who is constantly on call to respond to emergencies at a moment’s notice. There are currently Service Members deployed all around the world in harm’s way willing to sacrifice themselves for our freedoms, as many of you in the crowd have done, and will do in the future. This Patriot Ruck is an opportunity for the community to recognize those who serve, to meet them, and to walk beside them. This Monday, September 11th the nation will commemorate Patriot Day. Whether you served before the attacks of 9/11 or were inspired as a result of them, we as a nation owe you a debt of gratitude." -LtCol Brian Mulvihill, United States Marine Corps #PatriotDay #NeverForget #UnitedWeStand #PatriotRuck #RuckToHonor #WinsForWarriors #UAFreedom (📸: J Singleton)

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