BUFFALO, N.Y. - On an unusually sunny, warm Saturday, the girls of Nativity Miguel Middle School don't mind being in school. They're learning about healthy food choices and how to grow their own food.
"We're doing healthy cooking right here. It teaches me that I can do many things with like eggs and celery and be really creative with it. Over here, we're doing planting, and I learned that I can plant anything healthy and some flowers are edible," said eighth-grader Helina Gebre.
The Kids in the Kitchen program is a part of the Junior League of Buffalo's mission to mentor girls, assist single moms in need and improve their quality of life. Michael Lee from the Green Entrepreneurial Center in Buffalo gave the girls simple tips about preparing healthy food.
"We found out that kids today in Buffalo and all over the United States have a big disconnect from farms and where their food comes from. They'd much prefer to eat junk food and unhealthier foods, things that go in the microwave rather than eating fresh fruit. So we're here to help promote a little fresh fruit, help fight Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and even high blood pressure in people," he said.
Nativity Miguel's St. Monica campus is a faith-based, non-profit middle school that teaches underserved, female students. The school has a 94 percent attendance rate and partners with other service organizations, high schools and colleges. Providing mentors for the girls is an important part of the curriculum, and the Junior League of Buffalo is happy to take part.
"It is great to see women donating their time, their resources, their education and working together to spread the message about volunteering, about supporting each other, encouraging each other and making a difference," said Melissa Shiah, Kids in the Kitchen program Chair for the Junior League of Buffalo.
The Junior League of Buffalo was established in 1919 and has about 500 members serving as volunteers in the community. Nativity Miguel was established in 2004.