Archive for July 15th, 2009

Benefits of Bringing Your Lunch

Fruit is always a great item to include in a bagged lunch.
Fruit is always a great item to include in a bagged lunch.

Some people enjoy bringing $10 or so every single day to pick up, order, or take out a lunch. Partially because the food is good, or maybe they’re just too lazy to make their own lunch at home.  As growing teens and young adults, our bodies deserve a nutritional meal more often.  It isn’t like you have to make a Caesar salad with light dressing and gourmet croutons early in the morning, but there are surely alternatives to the meals we limit ourselves to.

So, what is a good lunch to bring to work? Well, there are plenty of yummy, healthier options that can easily be made right at home. Take, for example, the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  You can use different types of flavors and breads, or you could make a nice deli sandwich or sub; just meat, lettuce, bread, and whichever cheeses and spreads you would prefer. You can also make salads, leftover dinners, or even bring in a frozen entree.

Grocery stores and supermarkets are filled with options. It just depends on how creative and involved you want to become when making your lunch. Youth employee Sardera Thorne says that she usually brings in leftovers that she cooks herself.  When asked what her ideal lunch would be, she said, “Soup.” Everyone has their own preferences.  Jazmine Singletary, another youth employee, likes both going out to eat and bringing in a lunch. When she has brought them in, she says she eats “frozen dinners and what her mother makes,” but she really prefers going out to buy lunch during the day. Her ideal meal would be chicken.

Looking at it from another prospective, my mother, DCRA Employee Cheryl Randall-Thomas, says she “prefers bringing in lunch because I don’t like how much it ends up costing,” which makes a lot of sense in today’s economy. She stated that “When you bring lunch, you know exactly what you’re eating (wholesome, not greasy, good amounts of food, etc.)” Her ideal lunch would be soup and salad, and she usually makes the lunch herself. Mrs. Randall-Thomas believes it is better to bring in a lunch from home because she has noticed that you can get more out of bought groceries over a week’s span than one day’s meal however, she still enjoys a hot prepared meal every once in a while.  Another Summer Youth employee, Jeremy Bennett, says that he usually goes out to eat somewhere everyday. His ideal lunch would be Chinese food. “As far as finances go, it would be better to bring lunch,” Bennett says about whether or not bringing in lunch is better than buying a lunch. It all just depends on how you are feeling a particular day, or even how your personal finances are measuring up.

Also, choose foods that won’t drag your day down or stuff you. It’s better to eat a single heave or main item with snacks on the side than a few heavy items or all snacks. There are also plenty of options for drinks to bring – sodas, juice, coffee, etc. After asking the opinions of some of the other summer youth employees, it seemed as if bringing lunch is the best way to go. Once you realize how much better bringing in lunch is, you’ll begin thinking of more meal ideas, and someone else may even envy your lunch!

Lesley Thomas



DCRA SYEP Polo Shirts: Hit or Miss?

The DCRA summer youth polo shirts have been well received by the young employees.

The DCRA summer youth polo shirts have been well received by the young employees.

In the past, being properly dressed for work has been a problem for some of the District summer youth employees.  Summer youth have been sent home from work because they were improperly dressed or were not aware of how to dress business casual. This year, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has provided youth with polo style shirts with the summer youth employment logo on them. Youth have been asked to wear their shirts every Monday so that at least once a week the summer youth have a uniformed look. Most of the youth appreciate the fact that DCRA has given them shirts for work. Some students reported that they would appreciate some small changes in the shirts, such as a difference in color.

I asked some youth on a scale of 1 to 10 how they felt about the shirts and many of the youth appreciate the fact that DCRA has helped them with a start to dress more business casual for work. In my opinion, the decision by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to provide every youth in this program with a shirt is very helpful. It allows youth to see how much they are appreciated by the program.

I had the opportunity to get some honest opinions from summer youth workers. I asked them exactly how they felt about the polo style shirt and I got some really good feedback. Summer youth Jazmine Singletary reported that she felt the shirts were kind of masculine for females but she does enjoy the fact that she does not have to find something to wear on Mondays. If Jazmine could change the color of the shirt she would feel better if the color were lighter. I also talked with summer youth worker Chidiomimi Ukwuani. She actually likes the color of the shirt but would like to change the day that that shirts are suppose to be worn. She said she would rather wear her shirt on a Friday. After interviewing youth based on their feelings about the polo style shirts most youth appreciate them and understand why DCRA feels like the shirts are an essential part of the summer program.

Dajah Blackwell