Some of our Schenectady Day Community Opportunity Program (DCOP) participants have been gaining Independence, self-esteem, and creativity in the most delicious way possible!

Cooking class participants showcased their skills at a recent graduation ceremony by independently preparing an amazing three-course meal. The banquet featured an appetizer of beef empanadas and salad, a main course of ziti with garlic bread, followed by a delicious strawberry shortcake and cookies.

All this awesomeness didn’t happen overnight. They have spent years honing their craft with Living Resources staff Shamile, learning kitchen safety, the mechanics of using a stove and oven, and how to prepare different food items such as meat and vegetables. Other essential life skills like making meal choices, budgeting, and planning have been developed, as well as the social aspects of sharing the kitchen with others in the group and taking turns with the different tasks.

The best part of learning to cook? The satisfaction of enjoying a delicious meal! Although class participants get to enjoy the fruits of their labor after each cooking session, graduation day took the experience to a whole new level. Parents and guardians were invited to the feast to celebrate their family member’s achievements. Wearing traditional graduation caps to receive their certificates of accomplishment was the icing on the cake for the budding chefs. During their acceptance speeches, they expressed how proud and excited they felt when their families dined on their magnificent meal.

The cooking class is one of many options for DCOP participants. Learn more about the program by going to https://www.livingresources.org/day-community-opportunities-program-dcop/