Ending Childhood Hunger

by Annelise Cohon '07

Annelise-Cohon-'07

My time at Scripps seemed like a fairytale college experience. I made wonderful friends, learned from engaging professors, and lived in a community of student activists—I was surrounded by individuals committed to social justice, my passion.

I will never forget my first class at Scripps, which was “Feminist Ethics,” taught by Susan Castagnetto. The idea of taking a class about feminism in general excited me, but after I had that first class, I knew Scripps could and would empower me to be a leader of positive change.

Since graduating, I have enjoyed a career tackling important social issues. I have dipped my toes in the pond of education equity, disability rights, and human trafficking. Currently, I am engaged in efforts to end childhood hunger. My job as program coordinator at the National Education Association Health Information Network allows me to work with outstanding educators from across the country to implement breakfast in the classroom as a way to increase the number of K-12 students participating in the federally funded school breakfast program.

This year, I am working in 10 school districts and looking to feed breakfast to more than 20,000 additional students on a daily basis. This is no small undertaking! I have visited a number of schools and talked to hundreds of teachers. I am amazed by their dedication and commitment to each of their students’ academic, emotional, and physical growth.

When I visited one classroom in Reading, Pennsylvania, I asked the teacher if she thought she had any hungry students. I expected to hear of one or two. She brought me over to her desk, opened a drawer, and revealed a sizable box of granola bars and snacks for the students who come to her class hungry. She told me that she spends on average $20 a week on food for her students. While shocking, this revelation made me realize why the work I am doing is so important.

There are no easy answers to the issue of childhood hunger in this country. But my experience at Scripps with strong women mentors has shown me that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

Cohon recently started a graduate program at American University and says that even though she is a “Scrippsie at heart,” she has embraced her new university mascot, Clawed, the Eagle. She enjoys running, yoga, and going to as many concerts as possible, as “music is the best medicine.” “Scripps could and would empower me to be a leader of positive change.”

As program coordinator, Annelise Cohon explains the national school breakfast program to a group of educators.

 

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