Today’s high school students have a very different experience than most of us have had, especially ours at Ida B. Wells. We’ve summarized a few data points in this picture, with our yellow brick school building nestled in the lower left.
It is hard to imagine being a teenager while also dealing with a real lack of food, or even having a place to call home. Our youth are navigating layers of issues that can make just getting to school difficult, let alone being able to learn.
Serious challenges like these also create additional hidden obstacles like isolation, depression, stress and trauma. It can be mind and heart numbing and for many of our youth, it is almost as if they have had to stop dreaming.
And then there is cooking together. There are many reasons why we cook in the way that we do. It is not just because all of your senses are actively in the moment, making for delicious, tangible and memorable learning.
Communication, teamwork and grace under pressure are just some of the universal skills that get re-discovered by our youth when we cook together.
And when others appreciate the food you make? It goes in deep.
When that happens, your sense of your own value gets fed within your community, which is no small thing. Feeling valued becomes a vital springboard that allows our youth to look ahead with confidence, build that sense of purpose, and best of all, nurture hope.