While attending the Culinary Institute of America, I applied for a summer job as a Chef Instructor , teaching children ages 8-11. I knew nothing about Yonkers, New York or the demographics. I just figured this job would be a walk in the park and some easy made money. My job was to teach kids how to make very simple things and teach them a bit about nutrition. I was not prepared for what I got out of the experience. Each day 12 kids came into my kitchen all from various cities within Westchester County at 8:30am and at lunchtime immediately ran to the vending machine or the fast food establishment across the street. Why weren't they eating the great healthy food that they had just finished cooking all morning? I knew I had to do something about that so I began to explain the very basics about food and where it comes from and how its grown and its nutritional value. I did the same with seasonings and spices. By the end of the second week I began to see a change in them. They were more inquisitive about what they were cooking and kids started eating what they had made or started bringing healthy options for lunch. It was then that I realized I could influence a child's life as it related to food.
As a Black woman, I grew up during a time where "It takes a village" was in full effect. I know and have experienced the value of having someone care about your well being and your successes. Having the opportunity to partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Newark, New Jersey has given me the opportunity to now be that person who looked out for me when I was younger. I look forward to cooking with the kids and teaching them about Farm to Table, nutrition and table etiquette. Also I will have the opportunity to take part in the mentoring program for teenage girls. I will be partnering with a local celebrity to create an amazing event for the young ladies.
I could not be me if I did not volunteer my services and take part in the planning of celebratory events happening at the club.