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Norwood Child & Family Resource Centre: Young Chefs Learn the Essentials

January 16, 2014
Published In: Community Investment

​Alice knew it was wrong to leave her 10-year-old daughter at home with her two younger siblings and depend on her to prepare their meals while she was out. But she had run out of options. She was already working two jobs to make ends meet, and there certainly wasn't any money left over to consider paying for after-school childcare.

"Children living in poverty are often forced to grow up faster than their peers," explains Bev Parks, Executive Director at the Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre. "They often have to take on the role of caregiver not only for themselves, but for their younger siblings as well."

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"We are ultimately working towards a place where children are not left home alone to care and cook for themselves."

- Bev Parks, Executive Director at the Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre

The Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre provides prevention and early intervention programs for at-risk children, youth and families. As a community organization, they are able to adapt quickly to address the unique issues families living in poverty face.

One of these unique issues emerged after staff learned that many children are acting as the primary cook at home and are responsible for feeding not only themselves but their siblings as well.

"We are ultimately working towards a place where children are not left home alone to care and cook for themselves," explains Bev. "But until we are able to accomplish this, we recognized the need for a program to address food and kitchen safety."

To address this need, Norwood established a unique partnership with the McCauley Boys and Girls Club. Through the Young Chefs program, kids aged six to 13 meet once a week to learn how to safely prepare food for themselves and their families.

"We are grateful to the EPCOR Community Essentials Council for providing a $20,000 grant to the Young Chefs program," says Bev. "Working together we can help Edmonton families reach their full potential and make our community stronger and more vibrant."