The Junior League of Cedar Rapids’ Kids in the Kitchen program exposes teens in foster care to healthy and affordable cooking by providing food to them at bi-weekly gatherings known as Achieving Maximum Potential meetings.

Community partners

  • Foundation 2
  • Four Oaks

How it works

Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP) is a statewide, youth-driven group that seeks to unleash the full potential for personal growth among foster and adoptive children in Iowa. Youth who attend the meetings must skip dinner because they are in class rather than at home from 6:30-8:30 p.m., the scheduled meal time for kids in in-home or residential foster care. Because current AMP funding does not allow for food at the bi-weekly meetings, JLCR provides the food needed to cook a healthy, balanced meal for the foster youth before or during the meeting. The youth often participate in the meal preparation, which teaches them about making affordable and healthy food choices.

 What’s the impact?

The AMP meetings train foster youth to become advocates for themselves and others. The meetings provide them with valuable leadership opportunities and teach them the life skills necessary to become healthy, independent adults. JLCR’s Kids in the Kitchen program ensures that the youth don’t have to forgo dinner in order to participate.