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When asked what got her into teaching kids how to cook, Heidi O’Connor replied, “My own kids not learning to cook in the schools, and seeing child obesity on the rise. Today, in Clark County 27 % of the children are obese and by 2030 that number is expected to rise to 50%. Knowing those facts became a huge motivation to help kids learn portion control and to eat healthy.”
Every Tuesday through Friday, anywhere between 50 to 70 kids gather to attend classes at KCC here in Vancouver, Washington. The age range is between 3 and 17 and includes children with disabilities. Classes focus on how to prepare and cook meals, to properly use cooking utensils, and of course having fun. Not a bad recipe for learning life skills.
In 2012, The Kids Cooking Corner was awarded the Nonprofit Excellence Award for Innovation by Washington State’s Governor. KCC was recognized for serving troubled, underprivileged and special needs youngsters.
Heidi O’Connor said she would love to see this program expand outside of her northeast 78th street location and across the nation. Her vision is slowly gaining momentum as more and more communities hear about the benefits of The Kids Cooking Corner.
There is a continuous need for donations and volunteers to make this nonprofit work. It takes about $100.00 per student to go through each course. March 28th, Whole Foods Market in East Vancouver has pledged 5% of the days’ total receipts to helping the Kids Cooking Corner.