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Cana Kids Can Cook

For local Indigenous teenager, Elizabeth Haines, cooking is a learning skill that she says she can take into her adult life. When I dropped in on the latest Cana Kids Can Cook class of four, the schnitzel’s being prepared supported her comment reports Vladimir Korotkov in the October 2006 edition of the South Sydney Herald.

There were four participants, Michael, Elizabeth, Jaden and Amanda, who were attending four weeks, twice a week. The teachers, Warratah’s Rebekah Torrens and Cana volunteer Seline Chiedel, make this more than a hospitality course; they are enabling these kids to build significant relationships, facilitating team building and creating a caring community.

Cana Kids Can Cook is an extra curricula hospitality course for Indigenous young people, designed and provided by Cana Communities in partnership with the Waratah Centre. Both groups are committed to support and empower people outside the mainstream. Cana is a community offering family-style support for a broad range of people who need opportunities to belong. The Waratah Centre, a joint program between the South Sydney Youth Services and Alexandria Park Community School, seeks to re-engage young people into mainstream education.

The course has run for a number of years and recently attracted funding support of $10,500 from the Royal Freemason’s Benevolent Institution of NSW.

Each course concludes with a graduation dinner, with students preparing a fancy meal for family, friends and members of the Cana Board. At one of the graduations, Aunty Joyce was impressed enough to say that the young cooks were future leaders.

Most significantly, said Ann Jordan of Cana, “the course gives young people a great deal of pride that they have acquired a range of new skills.”

The courses have encouraged participants to take an interest in food from other cultures, to watch cooking shows in TV, and in some cases, to go home and cook for their families.

[Source – South Sydney Herald October 2006]