Pilot Company Volunteers At Schools For Give Back Day

Pilot Company Volunteers At Schools For Give Back Day

Over 50 Pilot Company employees donated their time on Wednesday to improve district schools, with outdoor beautification projects for Pilot Give Back Day.

Four teams went to Amherst Elementary, Pond Gap Elementary, Ritta Elementary, and West Hills Elementary to work on specific projects that were chosen by the school’s administrators. 

“We’re really excited to have this community support,” said Kristen Jackson, executive principal at West Hills Elementary. “I think it builds a culture of the school helping the community and the community helping the school.”

Jackson and her team decided to spruce up the front of their building with flower planter boxes and benches to create a welcoming environment for students and the community. Pilot volunteers also built picnic tables for teachers and families to utilize on warm weather days. 

The team at Amherst Elementary revitalized the outdoor classroom space. They mulched, painted benches, and brought in a podium to create a safe, beautiful area that teachers will be excited to use.

“After getting connected with Assistant Principal Beth Spence and taking a tour of Amherst we saw the need and potential for the outdoor classroom,” said Brianna Bradford, Pilot Company’s project manager in construction and development. “Children and teachers spend a lot of time in school so having an outdoor classroom is beneficial.”

Ritta Elementary saw many changes around their school as the Pilot team enhanced the look of the land with rock gardens around multiple trees, the front marquee sign, and flag poles. They also prepped a space that will be the future home of a mural to brighten their facility. 

Another team worked on garden projects around Pond Gap Elementary for their students and staff to enjoy.

Knox County Schools is grateful for the partnership with Pilot Company, and excited about opportunities to work together in the future.

Little Chefs, Big Change Encourages Healthy Eating

Little Chefs, Big Change Encourages Healthy Eating

Sarah Wharton started Little Chefs, Big Change out of her own passion for healthy eating and a healthy planet. 

“We are teaching kids how to cook healthy food and a variety of veggie-fueled recipes that employ different cooking tools and different methods,” Wharton said. “Kids are building confidence and independence while expanding their taste and preference and familiarity with healthy food.”

Wharton started cooking courses at Pond Gap Elementary in 2017 with the University of Tennessee’s University-Assisted Community Schools program. Little Chefs, Big Change became an incorporated non-profit in November 2022.

Little Chefs, Big Change has accumulated blenders, food processors, electric griddles, and more through grants to teach the students about technique and safety so they can translate these skills when cook at their homes and in their futures. 

Students follow recipes with an emphasis on “healthy foods that are so often under-consumed, like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes,” she said. 

Wharton hopes to expand to more schools in the next year. 

“We focus on communities that historically lack access to fresh and healthy food choices, thereby serving as a counterbalance to existing unjust food systems,” she said. 

Wharton and Little Chefs, Big Change do not just want to encourage healthy eating, kitchen safety, and environmentalism for the time the students are in the classroom, but create a lifelong relationship with healthy food and a healthy world. 

To follow along with the Little Chefs, Big Change journey, visit their social media on Facebook and Instagram.