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Empowering Youth

Empowering Youth, Starts in the Kitchen

When it comes to overall wellness—and even household budgets—the benefits of cooking at home are undisputable. Research shows, eating home-cooked meals helps people consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat. It leads to a better diet without higher food costs. It can even help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But realizing the incredible benefits of nutritious eating does require one simple thing—knowing your way around a kitchen. That’s why Knorr and Boys & Girls Clubs of America have teamed up to put their common missions of enabling healthy futures for everyone everywhere to work. Together, we’re offering a series of classes and demos in 22 clubs across the country that are bringing essential cooking skills and wellness education directly to young people and families. 

The first class kicked off this summer at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx, New York. The virtual gathering was led by none other than Knorr partner and celebrated Bronx-based chef, Millie Peartree, who taught everyone how to make Knorr Teriyaki Chicken & Rice Lettuce Wraps. Over the course of an hour, Millie was able to transport her own kitchen and the cooking skills she’s been honing since she was a little girl learning from her mom into skills and advice that young people can use in their everyday lives. Her message to every young person that day? “You’re the embodiment of infinite possibility.”

For the 12 youth who joined, this inaugural class was an experience that was as much about cooking as it was about bigger life lessons. Sheriffa C., a Boys & Girls Club member in New York, says, “Cooking with Chef Millie [was] a golden opportunity. If she has taught me anything, it [was] to not let obstacles discourage you. She also showed me it’s always good to be different and creative.”

As for Millie, who has spent the past 18+ months cooking more than 36,000 meals to ensure her community didn’t go hungry during the pandemic, these classes run right at the heart of a much bigger societal need and something the pandemic made very clear. “We can send out meals all day long,” says Millie, “but it’s very important that we teach people how to cook for themselves as well. That’s where we really see long-term positive impact.”

Knorr and Boys & Girls Clubs of America believe a critical part of driving a sustainable future for our planet and communities everywhere is empowering young people and ensuring they have access to nutritious foods. That only happens when organizations commit to providing programming to support healthy habit decision making and tangible life skills.

“There’s a movement of young people who are eager to learn,” says Laura Gover, director of youth development at Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “The pandemic was a realization that our Clubs are serving as a community hub. More than just serving young people, we’re serving entire families, and we want to build on that momentum.”

At Knorr, we have our sights set on ambitious goals: We intend to get food that is good for people and the planet onto 7 billion plates by 2025. With the help of incredible collaborators like Millie Peartree, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the enthusiasm of young people and families eager to learn, we are confident that our goal will become reality.