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  • Writer's pictureAaron Axford

Learning the Ropes in the Kids' Kitchen

So far, my time at the Damiano Center has been an amazing experience. I’ve met with all the program managers to learn more about what they do and what their program does. Recently, I’ve been job shadowing and helping out within each program so I can have a more in-depth understanding of their services. This week, I’ve been in the Kids’ Kitchen so I could learn more about it as well as the Summer Food Corps.

In Kids’ Kitchen, youth can drop in between 3:00 and 6:00 from Monday through Thursday and hang out with other kids. They can participate in fun activities like art, reading, or playing games. On some days, we even have special guests that teach the kids taekwondo or salsa dancing! I got to learn how to salsa dance on Monday and it was super fun. All the kids and leaders were having a blast. At 5:00, we serve a nutritious meal to the kids, but what’s really cool is that their entire family can show up for that meal. That way, a lot more people have access to the nutritious food that we prepare for them.

I’ve really enjoyed my time with everyone at the Kids’ Kitchen. It’s really cool to see all these kids come in and be creative with their hands and imagination! Some love to color and paint, while others build contraptions with Legos or dress up in costumes. There isn’t ever a dull moment!

A program within the Kids’ Kitchen is the Summer Food Corps, which helps teens develop leadership skills. Participating teens get this awesome opportunity to learn about food security and their role in it. In this program, teens learn how to grow and harvest food in garden plots, learn about nutrition, and how to prepare and cook the food they’ve harvested into a healthy meal for the Kids’ Kitchen.

This is such a unique and fascinating opportunity for youth. It gives them skills that they can put on their resumes for jobs while also setting an example for the kids they mentor in the Kids’ Kitchen. The skills they obtain in gardening, food service, childcare and STEM can prepare them for real jobs. Thursday will be my last day with this program, but I’m sure I will be back in the future. The connections I’ve made with the kids has made this experience as great as I could have hoped!

Remember to check back here every week for blog posts about the Damiano Center and my experience here as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

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Damiano Center Update as of 6/3/2022

Below, the current program hours are listed. If you have any questions or would like more information on a specific program, please go to the "programs" tab on our website. Community Kitchen: - Breakf


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