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Kids at Work! Empowering at-risk youth through the culinary arts.

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Presentation on theme: "Kids at Work! Empowering at-risk youth through the culinary arts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kids at Work! Empowering at-risk youth through the culinary arts

2 What we offer teens (12-17) and their families Professional cooking instruction Academic enrichment and tutoring Interpersonal and communication skills training to teens and their parents Counseling and mentoring Healthy living skills Environmental and social awareness Workforce preparation and Job placement

3 Professional cooking instruction Curriculum modeled after foods I and II course from NC Department of Education and AB Techs culinary program. Each student receives 46 cooking classes for a total of 115 contact hours of instruction. Two schools have offered credit for participation in our program – Alternative Learning Center (ALC) in Waynesville, NC – Jackson County School for Alternatives (HUB)

4 The experience takes only 2.5 hours, but can last a lifetime …… Daily Check-in Brief classroom group lesson Individual hands-on cooking lesson (current appropriate music on!) – Chef and Counselor cook along side Teens helping guide them through technical and academic concepts Each team of 2 students works on 1 recipe – Emphasis on technical skills, recipe mastery and creativity and intuition Heavy emphasis on healthy and well balanced meals – We consistently offer nutritional information during every step of the process Examples: The nutritional difference between deep frying vs. sautéing vs. steaming Fat content Alternative sugar choices

5 Family style meal A magical time – Music is turned down or off – Table set by Teens – Meal served by Teens – Meal conversation gently guided by Chef and Counselor Increase food vocabulary –Examples: Student: Ugh, I hate tomatoes Chef: rather than saying ugh, I hate tomatoes, try it and describe what it is that you do not like about it Student: its too squishy Chef: So its the texture that you dont like Each team shares methods and ingredients of their finished dish

6 Academic Enrichment We emphasize the mastery of academic concepts while cooking Mathematics –measurements –Recipe scaling Reading –Recipe comprehension and interpretation –Food Labels Writing and Research –Menu planning –Recipe creation –Internet research skills Science –Baking –Cooking methods –Food safety and sanitation This gets students excited about learning academic concepts because they can directly apply it to their life experience. Increases motivation for higher education and to excel in school

7 Entire group cleans together until the kitchen is returned to Health Department Standards. This allows Teens to develop: Self Motivation Self Direction (identifying a needed job and taking initiative) Group collaboration Focus (until the job is done) Pride in high standards of cleanliness Cleaning Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece. Nadia Boulanger

8 Experiential summary This experiential structure gives Teens instant gratification for their hard work. They learn that with hard work they can be successful and it can be really fun and engaging. Most importantly, they created something that they can now reproduce at home for their family. It helps to increase their confidence of their ability to replicate other successes such as schoolwork, sports, and communication.

9 Interpersonal and Communication skills training Say-it-straight training Daily check-in Conflict resolution Counseling and Mentoring

10 Say-it-Straight Training Say It Straight Training has been designated as an Evidence Based Program for promotion of Safe, Disciplined and Drug-Free Schools, good communication skills, positive relationships, self-awareness, personal and social responsibility; and for prevention of violence, substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors by: – U.S. Department of Education, 2001 – Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (National Institutes of Health), 2003 – Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2005 – Re-reviewed by SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices in July Delivered in 8 one-hour group sessions to Teens Four 2-hour group sessions delivered to parents – Teens cook for parents during parent groups. We all sit down and share a family style meal served by Teens to their Parents. Counselor and Chef gently guide conversation

11 Daily check-in We sit in a circle and simply check-in by talking about how we are doing today. This helps to develop awareness of self in the present moment Learn skill of listening without having to solve anothers problems Lets Teens appropriately describe where they are at right now, so peers know how to respond to them throughout the day – Example: Teen: My mother kicked me out of the house today and Im fuming. Counselor: So what do you need from the group today Teen: Everybody to leave me alone Counselor: Can everybody do that for her? Chef: Would you like to work alone today? Allows Teens to vent whatever is on their mind so that they can focus more when they are in the kitchen. Important for the physical, emotional and psychological safety of the group. Helps Counselor, Chef and Peers to appropriately support Teens.

12 Conflict Resolution Kitchen gets hot and we work hard. Conflict is bound to arise. We create an environment where conflict is safe to explore. Communication breakdowns and conflict is not feared, but rather welcomed and processed for growth and development. Stress I statements and taking personal responsibility for emotions and behaviors he made me so mad gets re-framed to he refused to help me wash the dishes and I feel angry. Sit one-on-one with Counselor for mediation Teens experience getting needs met in a safe and compassionate manner When a conflict arises within the group, we have a process circle and the group comes up with solutions.

13 Counseling and Mentoring Teens are welcomed to use the Counselor as needed to help with life issues and crisis. – One-on-one face-to-face during program hours – Texting or conversation is available during off hours Chef and Counselor also act as mentors for Teens and we may discuss life issues while cooking, at mealtimes, cleaning or during transportation.

14 Healthy Living Skills Cooking for self and family – We received a text from a struggling 17 year-old student on a Friday night in the grocery store (with his mom) asking, What was that special ingredient that made the Chinese stir-fry taste so good? Nutrition and healthy eating – Weve observed a significant decrease in the amount of soda our Teens drink and an increase in water intake at our table. – Can you see this? Im actually eating fish! Student age 15 – Ive eaten more vegetables in 1 day here than I have in my whole life. Student age 14 – Food Counseling Weight loss Behavioral effect from foods Food related allergies

15 Healthy Living Skills cont. Emotional maturing – Skill building to learn how to deal with intense emotions – Through group process, one-on-one counseling and mentoring and say-it-straight training Personal responsibility (asking for what we need) – Juan: Come here and dry these dishes with me, please. – Joe: Hells no. – Counselor: Hey Joe, if Juan asked you in a different way, would you have helped him dry the dishes? How could he ask you for you to WANT to help him? – Joe: Yes, Id help him if he would ask nicely. – Counselor: Juan, can you ask him in a different way? – Juan: Sure. Joe, would you please help me dry the dishes – Joe: Sure. Hygiene awareness – Wearing uniforms – Frequent hand washing – Proper personal grooming (nails and hair) – Wearing clean clothing

16 Environmental, Social and Food Awareness We recycle and teach about the importance of environmental awareness. We conserve water and teach lessons on water awareness. We discuss global social issues during mealtime. – Welfare system and poverty – Child abuse – Domestic violence – Racism Teens use their cooking skills once a month at a local soup kitchen and we discuss the experience

17 Workforce preparedness and Job Placement We work closely with Asheville Independent Restaurants (AIR) to help with job placement or placement into their Culinary Training program. We constantly advise kids to stay in school and pursue higher education while developing skills for a job to pay for their schooling. We help with job coaching, resume writing and interview skills. We use a progressive discipline system similar to one in the work environment – Verbal warning, written warning, then fired or your spot in the program has been released to another person. (We have only fired 2 out of 99 participants.) – This helps to teach Teens logical consequences.

18 Catering Teens get valuable job experience through Kids at Work! catering local events for different organizations and agencies. Helps teach: –menu planning –Purchasing –Large scale food production –Realities of a job –Problem solving skills

19 Family Banquet We organize a family banquet and graduation ceremony for each group. Invite press and local leaders in the community to witness Teens. Give certificate of completion, Chef Coat and Kids at Work! cookbook as a gift. This event is transformational for the Teens self-respect

20 What makes a Teen At- Risk ? As defined by NC Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) One or more of the following: – Court complaint or charge filed – Runaway from home for 24+ hours – Use drugs or alcohol in the past 12 months – School behavior problems – General academic functioning (below grade level) – Negative Peer relationship (gang identified or associates with gang identified peers or is rejected by pro-social peers) – Conflict in the home in the last 12 months – Substance abuse by household members (in the past 3 years) – Family criminality

21 Safety Individual and group safety is our main concern. – Teens are supervised at all times – Intensive 13 page handbook signed by Parent and Teen with clear policies regarding: Specific rules and expectations for Teens and Parents Behavior improvement plan/interventions Clear policies on smoking, drugs, weapons, violence, threats, cell phones, uniforms, confidentiality, and more Clear criteria for suspension and expulsion from the program – Both the Chef and Counselor have been trained in PMAB (prevention and Management of Aggressive behavior) We are skilled in diffusing anger before it becomes aggressive – Both the Chef and Counselor are skilled at minimizing accidents through professional cooking experience and delivering safety lessons in the curriculum. – We carry our own liability insurance policy through our parent organization Aspire, Youth and Family, Inc (a non-profit org) – Proven track record of safety In 2 years of operation and serving 99 Teens, we have not had any acts of violence, accidents or injury

22 Funding Sources Year 1 and 2 was funded through the Governors Crime Commission We served Haywood and Jackson County We recently secured the 3 rd year funding through the NC Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Preventions Community-Based Youth Gang Violence Prevention grant July1, 2011 through June 30 th 2012 Also, funding in part through Community Foundation of WNC to purchase a vehicle for transportation. We currently serve Haywood and Buncombe counties

23 Measured Results

24 totalGoal% of goal Participants % Participants with 46+ contact lessons 3150%32% Participants with 17 weeks or more in the program 5560%56% Increased Protective factors** 8460%85% Increased in vocational skills 9967%85% Enrolled in school or GED while in program 9967%100% Actual group lessons delivered 404 Group contact hours 1010 Cumulative lessons received 2413 Cumulative contact hours 6032

25 **Protective factors Protective factors reduce the risk that a Teen has for future offending. We measure: – Positive adult supports – Positive peer supports – Rewards for prosocial behavior towards Self Family Community Friends School peers School staff The environment

26 Kids at Work! in the press 2 cover page articles in the Mountaineer newspaper – gifts/ html 1 article in the Smokey Mountain Newspaper – helping-kids 2 spots on the WLOS nightly news

27 Kids at Work! collaborations with local agencies Cook once a month for Open Door Soup kitchen in Waynesville. Partnered with Open Door for local events. Cooked 300 muffins with Daydreamz project for Thanksgiving dinner for the hungry. Cooked 600 cookies for Valentines day for local social agencies with Daydeamz project. Catered volunteer dinner award ceremony. Catered local JCPC meetings. Catered Healthy Haywood event through DSS. Catered HUB (School for Alternatives) end of term school celebration.

28 Who we are … Kimberly Castano, MA, Executive Director Ambra Lowenstein, Chef/Instructor Corey Costanzo, MA, Program Coordinator/Counselor Kids at Work! is a program of Aspire, Youth and Family, Inc., a schedule (c)3 non-profit entity based out of Clyde, NC.

29 Kimberly Castano, MA Executive Director

30 Ambra Lowenstein, Chef Chef/ Instructor Ambra began her career earning a bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education in the School of Education at Florida State University. From there she taught for several years throughout the Asheville community in the subjects of art, cooking, dance and acrobatics. After teaching English in Taiwan, Ambra returned to America and opened her own catering company. Simultaneously, Ambra earned a degree in the Culinary Arts at AB-Tech. When she discovered the fledgling Kids At Work! program, it was a natural fit for Ambra to come aboard to share her curriculum, content, cooking instruction and years of experience working with youth. In addition, Ambra is a seasoned circus performer and is currently part of the National Vegetable Circus performing arts troupe which offers nutritional (and wellness living) education in an entertaining and kid-friendly format.

31 Corey Costanzo, MA, LMBT Program Coordinator/Counselor Corey earned a Masters degree from the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute in clinical psychology and is working towards licensure as a Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS). He is a licensed massage therapist and teaches somatic psychology at a local massage school. Growing up in a mafia and gang ridden neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY, gives him a unique perspective to understanding and communicating with at-risk teens. His passion and skill for helping people developed while living and cooking professionally at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. He currently lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and 2 daughters.

32 Current Needs We have secured funding for Buncombe county and are looking for the perfect kitchen space to house the program. Asheville City Schools could be a perfect fit if we were to dedicate the during school-hours group to students at Randolph school. Program hours are flexible. We run Monday and Wed. There will be 1 group during school hours and one after school hours group. Each group is 2.5 hours long.

33 If food is the way to one s heart, then Kids at Work! will get them there Developed internal motivation for learning Increased self-respect Increased self-sufficiency and life skills Solid job skills Ability to deal with intense emotions Increase refusal skills Increased connection with family, school and community Decrease risk taking behavior In Summary, Teens who experience Kids at Work! have:

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