Andrew and I created a program called: Power Foods (Nutrition for growing teens) at the Brooklyn Public Library and is designed for teens age 13- 19 years old who receive free or reduced lunch.
You may have seen ads around the city this past summer for the Summer Meals Program. Parks, schools, community centers and libraries offered free breakfast and lunch to all youth under the age of 18, all summer long. Because when school is out, many families in struggle to provide meals for their children and already tight family food budgets have to be stretched even further. So after learning that the majority of teens near my library receive free or reduced lunch, I wanted to learn more about nutrition and cooking programs for teenagers, which is how I discovered the Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City.
CUCE-NYC partners with community organizations to offer programs in Family & Youth development, Diversity and Parenting, Youth Civic Engagement and Nutrition and Health. This 2010 Impact Report shows how they reach diverse, low income families and the program’s success.
The Expanded Food Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) was a good match for the library because participants learn skills in budgeting, purchasing, food safety, nutrition and preparation. CUCE-NYC provides all necessary materials (hotplates, skillets, utensils, ingredients, curriculum and educational materials) as well as trained instructors.
Because the program is free, we decided to spend money on gifts for the participants. Teen who complete the workshop series will receive a gift set of cooking supplies including a stir fry pan and utensils. Participants also receive a certificate that can be used on their resumes and when seeking employment.