Emotional Health: Chris Helfrich on Empowering Oakland’s Youth & The Impact of Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation

A World of Difference
A World of Difference
Emotional Health: Chris Helfrich on Empowering Oakland's Youth & The Impact of Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation

Unleashing the Power of Eating, Learning, and Playing: Join CEO Chris Helfrich as he champions the impactful mission of Eat.Learn.Play Foundation to transform underserved communities through its three pillars, challenging the stigmas of charity and inspiring lasting change.

My special guest is Chris Helfrich

Meet Chris Helfrich, the force behind the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation. Not a stranger to charitable work, Chris has broadened his experience, starting from his endeavors with the UN Foundation Against Malaria to leading the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Now, partnering with Ayesha and Steph Curry, Chris is transforming thousands of lives in Oakland through the power of Eat Learn Play. Using this powerful trifecta, Chris and his team advocate for children’s access to nutritious food, quality education, and sports activities. His work goes beyond charity; it’s about offering dignity, a proud sense of community, and a bright future for those in need.

This bus totally flips receiving charity on its head, where normally there can be real stigma attached to receiving food from a food bank, right? And instead, what we have with the Eat and Play bus is like, kids just flocking to the bus to receive these resources. – Chris Helfrich

Chris Helfrich, CEO of the Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, was interviewed on the A World of Difference podcast by host Lori Adams-Brown. The conversation centered around the foundation’s mission and impact in Oakland, California. Helfrich discussed the three pillars of the foundation: eating, learning, and playing, and emphasized their importance in creating a happy and successful childhood. He shared how the foundation focuses on childhood literacy, with a specific emphasis on third-grade reading levels. Helfrich also highlighted the foundation’s commitment to impact over legacy, as well as their partnership with the Curry family. Overall, the episode serves as an inspiring discussion on the work being done by the Eat Learn Play Foundation and the importance of community involvement in making a difference.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Dive into the transformative ethos of the Eat Learn Play Foundation and its initiatives in Oakland.
  • Learn about the concentrated focus the foundation has on the intellectual growth of children.
  • Appreciate the role of unstructured play and physical health in the holistic development of children.
  • Unravel opportunities to participate and make a difference with the foundation’s community initiatives.
  • Grasp how local participation is a major asset in addressing and resolving social challenges.

Pivotal Role of Eat Learn Play Foundation

Eat Learn Play Foundation, co-founded by Chris Helfrich, Stephen Curry and his wife author and celebrity chef Ayesha, plays a significant role in uplifting the community in Oakland, California. With a stellar record of delivering 25 million meals, investing in literacy programs, and serving numerous young individuals, they create an impactful difference. Their strategy involves forming robust relationships with influential partners, and operating innovative programs like the mobile bookstore and market bus, fulfilling their mission to nourish, educate, and entertain.

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

  • Visit the Eat Learn Play Foundation website to learn more about their mission and the work they do in Oakland.
  • Support the Eat Learn Play Foundation by making a donation to help provide meals, books, and resources to youth in need.
  • Follow Eat Learn Play on social media to stay updated on their latest initiatives and events.
  • Volunteer your time with Eat Learn Play to make a hands-on impact in the Oakland community.
  • Purchase merchandise from the Eat Learn Play Foundation to support their programs and show your support.
  • Explore partnership opportunities with Eat Learn Play if you or your organization align with their mission and want to make a difference in Oakland.
  • Share the story of Eat Learn Play with your friends, family, and network to help raise awareness about their work and inspire others to get involved.
  • Stay tuned for the big exciting announcement from Eat Learn Play by following their social media channels and subscribing to their newsletter.

The opportunity to create something with two of the all-time great people in the Curries and leverage their networks, their voices, their platforms, and their passions to do good, it was a dream come true. – Chris Helfrich

Timestamped summary of this episode:

00:00:02 – Introduction,

Lori Adams Brown introduces the podcast and the guest, Christopher Helfrich, CEO of Eat Learn Play Foundation, started by Steph and Ayesha Curry. She highlights their impact in Oakland and the foundation’s achievements in serving youth, investing in literacy programs, and providing meals.

00:03:09 – Chris’s Background and Journey,

Chris shares his background and how he got involved with Eat Learn Play Foundation. He talks about his previous work with the UN Foundation Against Malaria and his relationship with Steph Curry. He expresses his excitement to work with the Currys and leverage their passion and platforms for social good.

00:08:08 – Addressing Social Challenges in Oakland,

Chris discusses the social challenges in Oakland, including high costs of living and food scarcity. He explains the work of Eat Learn Play Foundation in the community, such as providing meals and a mobile bus that serves as a free mobile bookstore and market. He emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of literacy and providing resources with dignity.

00:14:09 – Partnering with Women and BIPOC-Owned Businesses,

Chris highlights Eat Learn Play Foundation’s intentional choice to partner with women and BIPOC-owned businesses. He emphasizes the importance of authenticity and the Currys’ commitment to uplifting the community. He acknowledges the complicity in poverty and the need to provide opportunities and resources to those in need.

00:15:33 – The Three Pillars of Eat Learn Play,

Chris explains the three pillars of Eat Learn Play Foundation

00:17:21 – The Importance of Competing and Education,

Chris Helfrich discusses how competing in various sports has shaped Stephen Curry’s character and the importance of education in the Curry family. The focus on childhood literacy is highlighted due to the high number of elementary school students reading below grade level in Oakland.

00:18:57 – The Creation of Eat, Learn, Play,

Chris explains the process of developing the focus areas for the Curry Family Foundation. The pillars of nutrition, education, and play are identified as core ingredients for a happy, healthy, successful childhood. The name “Eat, Learn, Play” is chosen to encompass these areas.

00:21:09 – Impact vs Legacy,

The Currys prioritize making a positive impact rather than focusing on legacy. The foundation aims to address community needs and provide resources where they are most needed. Their focus on impact guides their decision-making and strategic direction.

00:22:46 – The Importance of Play,

Play is often underestimated in childhood development, but it is crucial for physical and mental health, as well as academic success. The foundation recognizes the impact of play and aims to facilitate active play among children. COVID-19 highlighted the importance of physical play for children’s well-being.

00:26:44 – Remodeling Schoolyards for Play,

The foundation is remodeling schoolyards in Oakland to create safe and inspiring spaces for children to play. The goal is to provide equitable access to quality sports and physical activity. The involvement of children in the design process

00:34:26 – Getting Involved with Eat.Learn.Play.,

Chris discusses how people can get involved with Eat.Learn.Play by donating, volunteering, or supporting their local food banks and schools. He emphasizes the importance of community support and mentions that the Curry family covers all administrative and fundraising costs for the foundation.

00:35:34 – Schoolyard Remodels and Volunteer Support,

Chris highlights the need for volunteer support in their schoolyard remodel projects. He mentions that they have a couple hundred volunteers who help build these schoolyards, and it provides an incredible experience for those involved.

00:36:08 – Inspiring Local Involvement,

Chris encourages people to get involved in their own hometowns and support local food banks or schools. He believes that sparking passion for local causes is just as valuable as supporting Eat.Learn.Play directly.

00:37:26 – The Power of Dreaming and Eating,

Lori reflects on the power of dreaming and how many great ideas are born around tables. She discusses how sitting down to eat can inspire innovation and creativity. Lori also expresses her gratitude for the work that Eat.Learn.Play is doing and the impact they are making.

00:38:50 – How to Get Involved and Make an Impact,

Lori encourages listeners to visit the Eat.Learn.Play website and explore ways to get involved, both through donations and volunteering. She emphasizes the importance of bringing differences together to make a positive impact in the community and commends Eat.Learn.Play for their focus on childhood

Eat, Learn, Play. It’s catchy, it says what we’re about, and in a way that I think is joyful and playful, which is also how we try to show up for the community. – Chris Helfrich

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