By Jordan Williams

By the time class starts students are already lined up outside the door. Outside, they wait until they can get inside the kitchen where they will make dishes that range from Italian to Chinese to soul food. Instinctively they know when to show up and when to pull their friends from other classes into the kitchen.

At the East Oakland Youth Development Center, Cooking Class is always full. Daily, youth meet after school to learn cooking skills through hands-on lessons.

According to Trent Robbins, 20, one of the class instructors, the cooking class is setup to “establish lifelong nutrition habits by eating healthy foods daily.”

Everyone does everything, from preparing food to cooking on the stove; all hands take part.

Ta-Kenda Holmes, another instructor, said he enjoys “seeing the kids have fun and being able to teach them.”

The EOYDC cooking class is a year round class that takes place weekdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.. The kitchen is open every day except for Thursdays.

Community members can get more information and get involved by visiting the EOYDC website.

Youth can sign- up at the EOYDC front desk.

According to Holmes, completing homework is the main prerequisite for joining the class. First they must do homework and read for 30 minutes said Holmes.

This story and the entire Education Voices series were made possible through the support of The California Endowment. Our student reporters for this series are participants in programs at The East Oakland Youth Development Center in East Oakland. Many thanks to the Endowment and the Center for the support of this program, and to our wonderful coaches, trainers and student reporters.


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