Green Tables Committee Cooks Up Video Lessons for Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago

Programming at the Pedersen-McCormick Boys & Girls Club (PMBGC) of Chicago is one of our Chapter’s legacy affiliations. It is the only Club within the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC) to offer after-school and summer cooking classes, and Chicago’s Dames have been instructors for more than 15 years.

Earlier this year, Dame Mary Abbott Hess, through her trust, created a restricted fund to ensure ongoing support of this important life-skills programming at the PMBG. The Green Tables Committee helped recruit and hire two part-time instructors to teach basic cooking skills in hands-on 90-minute classes focusing on nutritious foods to groups of 15 club members, ages 8 to 11.

The grant also provides funding for an organic garden and garden education for club members of all ages, and the Chicago Chapter also approved a grant of $3,700 to purchase garden tools and equipment for the Club and sponsor two family garden nights and gardening-related field trips for club members.

And then the Covid 19 pandemic hit. The Clubs had to temporarily close and chapter funding was put on hold. Nevertheless, we persisted!

Pivoting to Meet the Need
We asked the PMBGC if we could provide video cooking lessons, as Club programming moved online. The plan was to expand our program to members of all 20+ clubs in Chicago.Our goal was to teach basic cooking skills with a focus on nutritious, economical foods in a way that would appeal to girls and boys from diverse cultures while requiring minimal kitchen equipment. Dame Raeanne Sarazen offered to present the lessons in her home kitchen with a videographer colleague of Mary’s, Joe Azar who volunteered to shoot and edit the lessons. It all came together perfectly! Check out the first two lessons on our YouTube Channel here!

Our first two videos were presented to Dr. Vicki Lee, Chief Academic Officer of BGGC in August, who said the videos and related material would be shared on BGGC’s Facebook and Instagram pages and included in their virtual education programming. For those without computer access, print materials will be distributed in the next Club Home Kit delivery.

“I am truly grateful to the team at LDE for committing such time and talent to create these instructional cooking videos for our boys and girls,” wrote Mimi LeClair, BGCC President and CEO. “They will reach a wide group, helping over 1,600 Club members who participate in our Virtual Clubs to build the basic cooking skills they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

Added Holly Allen, BGCC’s VP of External Affairs, “Thank you so much for the videos! What a great instructional tool for our kids! It’s clear how much time, effort and thoughtfulness went into creating these tutorials. Thank you again for always going above and beyond for our young people!”

While this project was developed for Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, the Green Tables Committee is excited the possibility of sharing the videos with other Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation and with other Les Dames chapters!




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