The Junior League of Tulsa has conducted Kids in the Kitchen family cooking classes for seven years through a partnership with Global Gardens and the Westside Harvest Market, a not-for profit grocery store located in a low-income neighborhood with little access to fresh foods. This coming year, they plan to expand their current program at the Harvest Market by adding more neighborhood festivals and a second site at Street School, the only tuition free, non-profit alternative high school of choice in the Tulsa area.
- Community Action Project (CAP)/Head Start
- CAP Early Childhood Center and Eugene Field Elementary School
- Global Gardens
- Street School
How it works
JLT has found their program to be very successful for the people they reach. This year, it has become their goal to impact even more people. To do so, they have decided to focus their resources at Harvest Market on continuing their Kids in the Kitchen cooking classes and holding “festivals” every other month where they can attract more community members and engage them in activities focused on healthy eating and lifestyles. In Fall 2013, JLT held their first Harvest Festival providing food and family activities to the entire community near the Harvest Market. Over 200 people from the neighborhood attended and it was a fun way to engage a wider audience in their Harvest Market cooking classes.
Additionally, JLT has added Street School as a new venue for teaching their KITK curriculum so that they can work with younger students who have already made a commitment to changing their lifestyle by attending this school. They will teach 13 Senior students every other Friday. Following the classes, students will take home a backpack of food and recipes to prepare for the weekend.
What’s the impact?
Harvest Market Festivals will serve 200-250 participants every other month.
Harvest Market classes will serve approximately ten families every other month.
Street School classes will serve 13 high school seniors students twice monthly.
The Harvest Market neighborhood is an underprivileged area that is recently fortunate to have the city of Tulsa start to direct its attention to revitalization efforts. The JLT is the only partner focusing solely on teaching families about health and nutrition. Without such training and resources, it will be difficult for the families to succeed.
Similarly, Oklahoma’s high school delinquency and drop-out rates are some of the worst in the nation. Tulsa is fortunate to have Street School as an alternative for many young people who want to pursue high school graduation and strive to succeed. Having JLT volunteers in the school to serve as positive role models and also teach important cooking skills will be of great benefit to these young people.