December 28, 2022 -- For freshman Ryn Smith, cooking is a tradition passed through her family from generation to generation.
“My mom and grandma always taught me to cook when I was younger for holidays and events,” she said. “I love cooking.”
Smith and twenty-five of her fellow classmates attended Kitchen of Life, a program that works with students to enhance their job skills and social-emotional learning outside of the classroom through a unique culinary experience.
“We are the first [CCS] school to come to Kitchen of Life - ever,” said Alison Scott-Moxley, career & community resource coordinator at the school.
Kitchen of Life uses the experience of making food in the kitchen to learn about health and nutrition, teamwork building, interpersonal skills, and pre-employment skills.
In teams, students stepped up to the challenge of baking two different types of muffins in an allotted time.
“I saw students working together and solving problems,” said Scott-Moxley. “Students that have never cooked before are doing something new.”
Teams experienced how culinary kitchens functioned by dividing into team roles. Their designation included reading instructions, gathering ingredients, mixing, pouring, and more.
“How great [is it] that they put in the work and then they get to taste the result. I think that is a great reward for their effort,” said Scott-Moxley.
Mifflin High School has plans to return to Kitchen of Life for three additional sessions throughout the spring. In these sessions, students will cook a variety of different foods as they learn to cook for themselves and others.
“They’re going to take this back to their families. They can teach their siblings or help out in the kitchen more,” said Scott-Moxley.
The Kitchen of Life program is part of LifeTown, a program that helps build resilience and strengthen interpersonal skills.
Kitchen of Life works with students at the middle and high school levels. To get involved, contact the Kitchen of Life Director, Shea Kaltmann at Shea@kolc.org.