A Hulbert High School senior is helping her peers learn to cook delicious, creative meals through Kayla’s Teen Cooking Club. Kayla Rooster runs the club through the Hulbert Community Library, working with fellow students to prepare everything from cupcakes to pizza grilled-cheese sandwiches, emphasizing how to prepare tasty food without fancy resources. “I feel like people my age need to be more educated on cooking,” Rooster told the Tahlequah Daily Press. “That’s why people should come here. It’s a great way to learn how to make really neat food, be around your friends and enjoy yourself.”
An afterschool improv program in Queens is doing more than just teaching girls to be funny and creative – it’s teaching them how to be leaders. Funny Girls helps middle-schoolers improve their self-awareness, empathy, collaboration, resiliency and agency, all skills that the program’s parent organization, the Harnisch Foundation, sees as essential to effective leadership. The program gives girls the chance to develop these skills in a safe space where they can experiment and make mistakes. “Funny Girls is an opportunity and an outlet to express themselves in ways they didn’t think they could,” Global Kids director of middle school programs Lisalee Ibenez told Youth Today.
Lifelong sewing aficionado Courtenay Christian recently opened her own studio, where she shares her love for the craft with teens and preteens through afterschool classes. Lessons at her studio, Threaded from Heaven, are geared for children ages eight and up, and teach students how to measure, follow patterns and think creatively. “Sewing gives kids so much more than just what they sewed,” Christian told the Gwinnett Daily Post. “It makes you work with your cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration and things of that nature. But you also see this sense of accomplishment in the kids when they’ve sewed something and the pressure is off from the school environment.”
A conflict resolution-focused basketball program started in South Africa is helping mend police-community relations in Baltimore. Through PeacePlayers International, city police officers serve as volunteer basketball coaches to elementary and middle school students, helping the youths improve their game while serving as mentors. The program teaches students to resolve conflicts peacefully and gives them lessons in leadership and self-awareness that they can apply off the court. “We teach them how to be leaders, how to have responsibility, how to resolve conflicts,” detective Joseph Bannerman told the Baltimore Sun. “To watch them grasp those concepts and use them… while on the basketball court, but also in the classrooms and in the community, that’s the ultimate goal. To be better citizens and better kids.”