The People of OTRC: Meet Livvy!

Livvy and one of her On the Road youth smile while cooking

I had the pleasure of sitting down to interview Livvy Call, the lead teacher for the Emerging Chefs program at On the Road Collaborative. A recent graduate of James Madison University with a degree in Dietetics, Livvy loves to serve in the Harrisonburg community.

“I got started with On the Road [last year] because the advisor from Campus Kitchen, a service organization I’m in, was friends with one of the coordinators. The second I learned about On the Road’s mission and work, I knew I had to do this!” 

Livvy’s love for food and giving to others began through volunteering with Campus Kitchen, which takes cancelled orders and leftover food at JMU and turns it into meals for community members in need. She saw On the Road as a way to extend those two loves by sharing her passion with local youth. Livvy’s experience with Campus Kitchen was the beginning of her journey to becoming an influential teacher at On the Road.

Livvy teaches her on the road youth

During the past two years, Livvy has taught nearly 50 middle and high school students in the Emerging Chefs program at Thomas Harrison Middle and Harrisonburg High Schools. Each class session, students work in small groups to prepare a different recipe. At the end of the class, the groups combine all of their food creations into one meal which they eat and enjoy together. The class is designed to encourage teamwork, with every student having a hand in the end result.

“When I teach I try to make it more student focused, and less me telling them what to do. It’s more of me bringing them to something and having them try to figure it out for themselves. I think the best way to learn is to do it yourself. I see myself more as a facilitator and less like a teacher.”

Livvy and her on the road youth pose for a photo

Livvy firmly believes the program gives students a sense of belonging. She encourages the students to branch out and learn from the strengths of their peers. Livvy brings enthusiasm into the kitchen to make Emerging Chefs an opportunity for students to explore the cooking field and expand their learning beyond the traditional classroom setting.

“[On the Road] is supportive and takes an interest in who they are and the assets they bring to the group. They get a sense of joy when they come to the program; you see a lot of bright eyes. I think it provides inspiration to see how their future could be with their career because it’s hard to imagine yourself doing something one day if you have no idea what it is.”

Livvy concluded our conversation with stressing how her experience working with On the Road has impacted her life, and described what On the Road’s mission means to her.

Livvy smiles in the kitchen during an On the Road program

“I like the way that it is a continual process. On a road you see a lot of changes along the way and different scenery. You might think you’re going one way and it will take you another. I think that’s really reflective of what On the Road does for students. Many of the students are from a lot of different backgrounds, and it gives opportunities for anybody to get “on the road,” so I admire the programs inclusivity….I learn so much from my students through their perspectives and the questions they ask, it’s a really cool and transformative experience for me.”

photo of ashley bove

Ashley Bove is the contributing author for this post.
Ashley is a Senior at James Madison University studying Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communications and is serving as a Communications Intern with On the Road Collaborative this fall.