Since the beginning of April, students from Evans Community School have been chopping, slicing and sautéing in an after-school, 9-week culinary training pilot program in the Darden Foundation Community Kitchen. This pilot program came about when Evans approached Second Harvest about teaching nutrition and cooking to their students. With the collaboration of Second Harvest staff, Evans High principal, Jenny Gibson-Linkh, and head of the Community School, Amy Ellis, a model was soon put together and presented to 100 Women Strong for funding.
Thanks to 100 Women Strong’s support, and after a rigorous application process, 13 students now find themselves in our 2,000 square foot community kitchen learning about nutrition, kitchen techniques, cooking under the talented direction of our community kitchen chefs. Every Tuesday, Senior’s First provides transportation to our facility, where they learn about good nutrition, prepare a healthy meal, eat, and then take four additional servings home to their families.
Before these 13 students were picked to be a part of this program, their first challenge was to write an essay and gain referrals from their teachers. Many of them are honor students at Evans, in advanced classes, and are part of a club; every one of them is hardworking and ready to get cooking in the kitchen every Tuesday. “Cooking is a getaway and I want to expand my horizons and help my mom out by preparing food for her after a long day at work,” one student writes in her essay. “I’m part of a cooking family, and I want to pursue a career in culinary. The kitchen was my best friend growing up,” writes another. “Cooking gives me a sense of independence, builds my self-esteem, and helps bring my family closer. I want to learn about foods from different cultures, too!” is just another one of the many great example of why this is a special group of students!
The goal of the program is twofold: expose these students to a professional kitchen and culinary as a profession; and increase the students; knowledge of good nutrition. After the 8th week, students will retested to measure their progress and the skills that they learned. To finish off the program, the last week will include a celebration that includes getting to cook for their parents and show off everything they learned.
Special thanks to Evans Community School, 100 Women Strong, and Seniors First for helping us cook up something special and make the after school pilot program possible. Thank you for all of the support and bon appétit!
Online Marketing Coordinator