Sharing knowledge. Learning together
Read all about our educational and training programs.
Take Back the Kitchen
Cooking classes that empower and inspire the Dudley Square community.
What is TBK?
Designed to help address the epidemic of diet-related health problems in the Dudley Square Neighborhood, Take Back the Kitchen arms community members with the tools, knowledge and first-hand experience they need to nurture their bodies and souls with good food.
The program includes the Professional Kitchen Series with Boston Day & Evening Academy, a Healthy and Safe Cooking course at Urban College of Boston, and opportunities for local youth to intern and volunteer at Haley House.
Each aspect of Take Back the Kitchen develops skills that not only impact the individual's personal health but also enable students to gain valuable and marketable experience for gaining employment. This kind of hands-on learning is invaluable for many of our students who struggle in traditional academic settings. They derive great satisfaction from working with their hands, seeing the tangible outcomes and sharing the fruits of their labor.
Our lab-style approach makes learning to cook accessible and fun. The positive effects of the experience also help students gain confidence outside the kitchen. We nurture this growing self-confidence with additional opportunities for students to show off their accomplishments by creating specials for the café, hosting dinners for friends and family, and contributing to the practices of a real working restaurant. It is always apparent that students who participate in Take Back the Kitchen feel proud, empowered and inspired.
Numerous studies have shown that low-income communities of color are at particularly high risk for diet-related health problems including obesity, Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. These health issues have had a significant impact on our community, its vibrancy, and its life expectancy.
Poor nutrition, often associated with poverty, inadequate access to quality food and poor education, has significant effects on cognitive and behavioral development in youth. Between the declining physical health and diminished conditions for educational achievement, food education is critical to the growth and vitality of these populations.
A 1994 study by the Harvard Institute of Economic Research examined the potential causes for the striking rise in American obesity rates since the 1980s. Researchers found a connection between decreased time preparing food at home and the rising trend in American obesity.
It has become clear that learning to cook is a key factor in an individual's ability to escape diet-related disease. It is also the best way to develop the open-mindedness and food literacy necessary for making healthful, sustainable food decisions.
The mission of Take Back the Kitchen is to empower people by giving them the tools and skills they need to cook. We believe this is the key to combating obesity and eliminating the negative effects it has on people's health and on our community as a whole.
Visit our blog: http://tbkhaleyhouse.wordpress.com/
Spend a summer sharing modest living quarters, tending an organic farm, learning from the poor and working in the soup kitchen.
Help a social enterprise bakery cafe in a struggling neighborhood, share modest living quarters, tend an organic farm, learn from the poor, do some drudgery, ask yourself some hard questions, open your eyes and your heart.
Our summer internship program is a unique opportunity to gain exposure to living where service takes priority and experience the diverse facets of Haley House. Summer interns typically live as part of the Haley House community at 23 Dartmouth Street, work three morning soup kitchen shifts per week, and have an internship concentration at the Haley House Bakery Cafe, administrative offices, Noonday Farm, or the affordable housing units. Each summer at Haley House relationships blossom, people grow and lives are changed forever.
*Note: These placements are compatible with internship standards for college students. Room, board and great housemates are provided, but no stipend is available at this time.
McKinley School Cooking Class
Helping challenged high school students understand the importance and value of good food.
The Live-in Community noticed that many guests in the soup kitchen began their downward spiral into homelessness in middle school. With the McKinley School located right next-door, there was an opportunity to connect with young men and women struggling to succeed despite the challenging cards life had dealt them. The Live-In community members reached out and to give them special attention with cooking classes.
Twice weekly classes are offered to a small group of high school and post-high school students (ages 16-20) at the McKinley School, a Boston public school for students with deep emotional and behavioral issues. Classes are designed to introduce students to "good food" by asking critical questions about familiar foods. Classes begin with discussion about what ingredients should be in the dish we are about to cook. Students then prepare the food from scratch building on their existing kitchen skills and knowledge. We cook healthier versions of dishes already students enjoy regularly enabling them to cook for themselves at home. Finally, we set the table and eat together, learning to savor food and appreciate the company of others.
Transitional Employment Program
Teaching recently incarcerated men the job skills they need to succeed in the working world.
The Bakery Training Program began in 1996 at the Haley House soup kitchen, when formerly homeless men worked together to generate an income. They learned to bake bread and pies and then taught their new skills to college students volunteering in the soup kitchen. This process developed the men's skills, built pride, and became a mentoring model.
Today the training program has evolved into the Transitional Employment Program. It assists those recently released from incarceration as they re-enter the world independently. This work experience allows for real-life employment opportunities in an environment designed to ensure safety and stability. The production range of this program consists of the wholesale cookies, pizza dough, pies, and tea loaves.
In addition to employment, participants are required to pursue education. The program offers tutoring and transitional support, provided by Haley House Community Live-In members with the cooperation of Haley House volunteers. The Transitional Employment Program upholds Haley House's long tradition of creating opportunities for people striving to turn their lives around.
Read more about the TEP program here.
If you are an Access to Recovery client looking to join the TEP program or inquire about other Haley House programming, please fill out this form.