This is a story from one of the incredible volunteer teachers at Mary’s Home who co-teaches one of our life skills classes. Who knew something as simple as cutting a pineapple could be such an impactful experience!

It’s my sixth week co-teaching the Mary’s Home life skills class. We talk about everything from housekeeping and cooking to organizing papers and calendars. I’ve been surprised and inspired by these women. If I’m honest, I expected them to be different — defeated, worn out, victims of unfortunate circumstances.

I could not have been more wrong. These women are vibrant. They are smart and young, excited to learn, motivated to care for their children, eager to make positive choices. Over time, their walls have started to come down. They are laughing more and talking more and becoming a community of friends. 

Last week, we talked about eating healthy. Many of the mothers eat fast food often because it’s all they’ve known. They haven’t had a kitchen to cook in, and buying groceries is difficult when you live on a couch or in a car. They haven’t had many choices.

Tonight, one of the moms came in with a big smile on her face and a pineapple in her hand. I watched her walk in and laughed out loud. 

“It was on sale!” she exclaimed. “But I don’t know how to eat it!”

“Has anyone cut a pineapple before?” I asked the group.

The mothers shook their head. One nodded reluctantly. “I cut one this week for our snack. I had to YouTube how to do it, but I can show you later.”

“You can show us all now,” I said. “Let’s do it together.” 

We crowded around a table and I watched as this mom taught a group of women how to carve and cut a fresh pineapple. Talk about life skills training!