After-School Cooking Program Teaches Valuable Life Skills

PRINCESS ANNE, MD, Dec. 13, 2019 – 4th and 5th grade students at Greenwood Elementary School in Princess Anne, MD are learning valuable life skills in an after-school program recently developed by the school’s Reading Power Lab teacher, Ms. Linda Kinhart. The program seeks to teach students the basic skills needed to safely prepare age appropriate and healthy recipes for themselves and family members. This program was designed to meet a need that exists with lower income families who, due to financial challenges often rely on their older children to provide after-school care and prepare meals for younger siblings while parents are at work.
 
Students are expected to show growth in math and reading skills as a result of participation in the weekly after-school program. Cooking skills are developed by reading from kid-friendly cookbooks, measuring with fractions and whole numbers, creating healthy foods by using age appropriate kitchen tools, and learning character building skills through volunteering with the Greenwood Elementary School Food Bank Program. In addition to weekly meetings to learn new cooking skills, students have the opportunity to attend field trips to the Somerset County Technical High School and UMES Culinary Arts programs where students can learn more about a potential career in food service, and the Salisbury Maryland Food Bank where students will learn how the organization combats food insecurity within their community.
 
The program recently received a generous grant from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore at the Annual Education Awards Reception. Ms. Kinhart also accepted the prestigious Mary Gay Calcott Award of Excellence which provided additional funding to the program that currently serves 25 students.
 
Ms. Kinhart shares, “This program offers students experiences that they may not have had access to without support from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and our team of dedicated volunteers from the community. Our hope is that participating youth will have fun, but also walk away with some valuable life skills and experiences that will help them succeed in the future.”
 

two women holding awards
(L-R) Ms. Linda Kinhart, After-School Cooking Program Administrator and Greenwood Elementary Principal, Ms. Ashley Walters proudly display the Calcott Award plaque and Community Foundation grant check at the Annual Education Awards Reception.
 
a group of children in a cafeteria posing for a picture
Students in the After-School Cooking Program pose for a photo with volunteers and teacher, Ms. Linda Kinhart.
 
students at a table making a dessert
Students carefully measure and mix ingredients in a dessert recipe while volunteers provide supervision and guidance.
 
teacher showing students how to measure food
Ms. Kinhart helps one student fill her cup while answering questions from another.
 
children helping unload food pantry delivery
Students work to unload a Maryland Food Bank delivery to the Greenwood Elementary food pantry.