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Arise Chautauqua Partners With Wegmans For Girls Cooking Class

Pictured are Jessica McKeever, Kaylie Lindstrom, who co-founded Arise Chautauqua together, and the Wegmans Community Giving Team. Arise Chautauqua and Wegmans will be partnering to teach a cooking class at the end of March. Submitted photo

A cooking class for girls ages 11 to 18 put on by Arise Chautauqua and Wegmans has been scheduled for next month.

Set for March 21 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Arise Chautauqua’s Arise House, the event invites 15 girls to participate in a class where they will learn from Wegmans’ chef Melissa Storms how to cook pan-seared chicken breast with pasta and alfredo sauce. The class is already full.

Jessica McKeever, executive director of Arise Chautauqua, said the class is the first Arise Life-Skills event that the organization will be offering at their new location. The classes follow the goal of Arise Chautauqua, which is to “help all girls live healthy, whole and authentic lives free from abuse and exploitation through intentional connection to community, trusted adults and other support and resources.” McKeever added that Arise Chautauqua has no prerequisite to be involved and is for all girls ages 11 to 18 to help empower them to be able to do the things in life that they will need to do and give them the skills to succeed.

The organization’s goal is continued through this class because of the ability to connect and share a meal around the table.

“The class will be around two hours and led by the head chef at Wegmans,” McKeever said. “The girls will learn to prepare pasta and then be able to enjoy the meal together around a table, which is something important to us here at Arise because it encourages community connection. The girls will then get a bag of goodies to take home.”

While this is the first official life-skills class Arise Chautauqua is offering, McKeever said they have been operating out of the Arise house since December and plan to have future monthly classes. This includes a class in April on career development where the organization will once again partner with Wegmans to teach girls things such as how to fill out applications, write resumes and do job interviews. Other future classes include finance 101 with Chautauqua Federal Credit Union, car maintenance classes and more cooking or home life-skills classes.

“I think these life-skills classes are important to what we do at Arise because it gives girls skills that are maybe not taught at home, or they might focus on places where girls need support,” McKeever said. “This is something we do for all girls to empower them to do what they need to do and life-skills is just one part.”

Any girl in the local community between the ages of 11 and 18 can take advantage of future classes and other aspects that Arise has to offer. McKeever added that they can learn new life skills, connect with others in their corner, which is a big focus for Arise, and learn to do things at an early age before they get to where they need to figure it out on their own.

“I hope with these classes that girls will have the opportunity to find out more about something that they might be interested in,” McKeever said. “This time we have one girl who is interested in being a chef and she can learn from a real chef and be able to ask her questions about what the job is like. It exposes them to the women who have gone before.”

Arise Chautauqua also has peer groups and multiple gatherings that can connect girls to their peers and community members in healthy ways.

To find out more about Arise Chautauqua, visit them on Facebook.

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