The CHEF Program


The CHEF Program is a direct extension of the AJLI’s Kids in the Kitchen initiative. The CHEF Committee, comprised of volunteers from the New York Junior League, works in tandem with community partners to educate low-income families in the most vulnerable areas of New York City about the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity.

Community partners

  • Andrew Glover Youth Program
  • Jennie Clarke Residences
  • Covenant House
  • Harlem Children’s Zone
  • New Alternatives for Children
  • New York City (NYC) Mission Society
  • The Single Parent Resource Center

How it works

Through either a four-week workshop session format or a one-day intensive workshop, the CHEF Committee serves the families of their eight community partners hot, healthy meals and teaches program participants how to cook these meals for themselves even if they have minimal resources.

The program includes three elements: healthy cooking tutorials, physical activity and positive decision-making. Through the hands-on workshops, participants learn how to plan and prepare healthy and nutritious meals and snacks. In addition, participants have the opportunity to engage in physical exercise activities such as yoga, jump rope and dancing. The final element of the CHEF Program includes tutorials on overall healthy living and effective decision-making. The program concludes with a graduation celebration where the participating families receive supplies to assist them in preparing healthy meals on their own.

The CHEF Program creates an avenue through which families in crisis can create opportunities to think about lifestyle choices that will ultimately make their lives more rewarding. The CHEF Program is designed to compliment and support the larger community effort to create an overall healthier community.

What’s the impact?

Through the CHEF Program, NYJL volunteers have the opportunity to work alongside existing community efforts to address the overall health challenges of some of New York City’s most vulnerable populations. Teaching the importance of physical activity, healthy eating and good decision making alongside the hands-on cooking lessons is certainly a compliment to the overall effort to address obesity throughout New York City through former Mayor Bloomberg’s Obesity Task Force.