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“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

With these inspiring words and descriptive imagery of fall by Albert Camus, we'd like to take this opportunity to invite you to share in our good fortune and welcome the newest additions to Team Luminari: Leslie Bonci, who will be leading our brand new summer initiative Camp Delicious! and Kyle M. Smith who will be taking over the helm of our most distinguished and longest-running program I Want to be an Ambassador! 

Hilda Pang Fu, President, Luminari



Kyle M. Smith Leads 2014 Ambassador Camp

 by Pilar Brown, Luminari Team Member

Kyle M. Smith lives in the past, however, as Chair of the Department of History at Shady Side Academy, it’s kind of in his job description.
After leading the Cuban Missile Crises enactment for the last two years during the critically acclaimed I Want to be an Ambassador! summer camp, Kyle has decided it was time to up the ante and take on the role as the program’s Director for 2014.
“I hope to bring a high-level of enthusiasm to the camp and to continue to build upon the great work of my predecessors. The Ambassador Camp is a fun, eclectic and engaging experience for students as well as teachers; this is the vibe that I want to maintain and foster,” he said.
Kyle’s segment on world history and diplomacy is always a highlight of the week and a lesson that piques the interests of campers by engaging them in actual historical events. As a sophomore in college, Kyle was inspired by Dr. Douglas Howard, a dynamic professor and mentor, “who introduced me to the subject that I have spent my life studying and teaching.” As an educator, Kyle hopes to inspire young people to understand and embrace the diversity of the world around them. “One of the reasons that I have continued to be involved with the Luminari program is because of its mission. You never know who will become the next history teacher, diplomat, or world leader,” he said.
“Without a doubt the best part of my profession is connecting with students.  They are the reason why we do what we do and encouraging them to embrace a life of intellectual inquisitiveness, cultural awareness, and ethical behavior is a very rewarding vocation.”
Kyle received his B.A. in history and philosophy from Calvin College in 2003, followed by his M.A. in history from Bowling Green State University in 2006. After graduate school, he began teaching history at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2007, Kyle received a visiting lecturer position at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan and taught a variety of courses in the history department, including a course on world religions and an upper-level elective on American foreign relations. 
In 2010, he moved to Pittsburgh and joined the history department at Shady Side Academy.  In addition to teaching classes on Western and American history, he also teaches an elective on American foreign relations and the Middle East.

While classroom instruction is the dominant part of his job at Shady Side Academy, he is also the faculty sponsor for Model United Nations and varsity basketball coach. In 2012, Kyle was named the chair of the history department, and in 2013 he was awarded the F. Walter Jones endowed chair in history.


Nutritionist Leslie Bonci Leads Initiative for Teen Foodies

by Pilar Brown, Luminari Team Member

One part energy, one part artist and two parts caregiver, Leslie Bonci uses her expert powers of culinary alchemy to educate, excite and engage professional athletes and dancers, as well as children and families alike, to lead healthier, happier lives through proper nutrition and exercise. Leslie, a nationally recognized nutritionist and author, is dedicated to helping others learn the life skills needed to make satisfying and healthy choices through a balanced approach to nutrition, physical activity and stress management.

This summer (2014), Leslie has teamed with Luminari to teach students how to cook and appreciate food by making Fuel Cool!

Camp Delicious, a new and innovative five-day summer camp for rising eighth- through 12-graders aims to demonstrate the “trendy, wow, fun” aspects of food so they will want to be in the kitchen creating nourishing and enjoyable meals. This collaborative teen foodie camp is designed using sense-surround techniques for the eyes, nose and mouth - chopping, cutting, mixing, blending and tasting a variety of foods. “Cooking is a life skill; knowing where food comes from, how to buy it, and how to prepare it for yourself and your family is critical in today’s fast-past, fast-food culture,” says Leslie, Camp Delicious Director. Influenced by Julia Child during her formative years, Leslie has also promised visits from some of her real-life celebrity chef friends to reinforce lessons.

Camp Delicious is the creation of Luminari President and connoisseur of great cuisine, Hilda Pang Fu, in an effort to place the focus back on the enjoyment of cooking and eating “delicious” food. Hilda explains, “Somewhere along the way, instead of celebrating food, we’ve criminalized it. Numerous books are published annually on fad dieting, weight loss, body building, calorie counting as though eating is a means to an end.” 

Growing up in Pittsburgh, with its many great colloquial dishes, Leslie learned early that good food is one of life’s great pleasures and the heart of family celebrations. Meals provide the perfect time to gather with family and friends, she explains “My husband Fred and I have dinner together with my parents, who are still healthy, every weekend."

As director of Sports Nutrition for UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, Leslie works with college athletes from the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne Universities, as well as professional Pittsburgh athletes with the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Leslie says, “I am inspired by my patients, the efforts they put forth, the challenges they overcome. She concludes “the best thing about my profession, it is constantly changing and talking about food is something everyone likes to do!”

“Working with Hilda Pang Fu, Luminari Executive Director, is so inspiring,” says Leslie. “Hilda's energy is infectious, and she helps us all to enlighten our next generation!”
  • 1 cup Texturized vegetable protein (Bob’s Red Mill or at the East End Food Co-op)
  • 1 cup tomato or V8 juice
  • 1 ,15 ounce can of diced tomatoes with chilies added
  • Taco seasoning- ½ packet
  • ½  of 15 oz can  of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ of 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounce can of corn, drained
  • Chili powder
  • Hot Sauce
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Pour the TVP into a large bowl and add the tomato juice. Soak 20-30 minutes. Add the taco seasoning, stir. Once the tomato juice has absorbed, spoon the TVP mixture into a microwave safe bowl, and mix in the tomatoes, beans, corn and seasonings. Cook on high for 5-7 minutes or until heated through. Top with shredded cheese if desired and serve with baked tortilla chips, over rice, in a tortilla, or over a baked potato or with cornbread.
Or serve over lettuce for a taco salad.

About Luminari 
Luminari is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization founded to foster activites that broaden minds, inspire innovations and promote community engagement.

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