As the summer is about to start, we decided to introduce you to the sunshine of the Western Canada team: Mandy Desautels. It’s also the perfect time to profile Mandy as her role and responsibilities have just changed; she is now the Project Manager, Community Engagement and Campaigns for Western Canada.
Birthplace: Inuvik, Northwest Territories Workplace: Downtown Vancouver office Joined BCC: 2.5 year ago
Life motto: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl Favorite childhood breakfast items: Cold pancakes with butter and cinnamon sugar on top, or toast with liverwurst pate (her mom is German!).
BCC: What’s the key priority in your role at Breakfast Club of Canada?
Mandy: My new role allows me to work with our corporate and community partners, support our various fundraising events and campaigns, and help spread awareness about Breakfast Club of Canada’s mission across the Western part of the country.
BCC: You had an interesting job prior to starting at BCC – what was it?
Mandy: Years ago, I worked in a community-based breakfast program in East Vancouver at Kiwassa Neighbourhood House. It was a great opportunity to see first-hand the impacts breakfast programs have on the lives of children and their families. We also employed women from the community to share their knowledge around food and, together, we shared our passion for nutrition and healthy lifestyle with the kids.
BCC: What made you want to work with Breakfast Club Canada?
Mandy: I wanted to have a role in helping bring universal school breakfast programs to more Canadian students. They are so important, not only for children but for their school community and families. I think kids have enough things to worry about – hunger shouldn’t be one of them.
BCC: Name a project you worked on in the last year you feel particularly proud of.
Mandy: This past April, Breakfast Club Canada hosted the first Healthy Foods Feed Healthy Minds gathering in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We invited school breakfast program coordinators, principals, teachers, Elders and youth leaders from 16 First Nations and Metis communities in British Columbia, Northern Manitoba, and Northern Ontario for three days of hands-on training.
Mandy is with Alice & Joannie, 2 participants in last Spring’s Healthy Food Feeds Healthy Minds conference in Winnipeg.
This gathering was an opportunity for participants to share knowledge around traditional food, highlight best practices, discuss school nutrition and health issues pertinent to their communities. The kitchen is where people connect and it was a beautiful experience to see community leaders, both Elders and youth as young as 10, engage with traditional foods and celebrate their connection to the land, water, plants, and one another.