• News Release: 10/8/2019

    October 08, 2019
    SAN RAFAEL, CA – “Teen Goes Blind After Existing On Pringles and French Fries.” “Girl’s Collapse Caused by Life-Long Diet of Chicken Nuggets.”  
    We’ve all read the headlines about kids eating at such unhealthy levels it threatens their well-being. Ted Smith, entrepreneur and restaurant owner had read them, too. And in 2009, he decided to do something about kids’ reliance on fast food and the increasing reports of child obesity in Marin County. Smith founded the non-profit Kids Cooking for Life (KCL), a hands-on culinary program that teaches young people about nutrition and encourages health-conscious cooking and eating habits. 
    “Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the last 30 years,” says Smith. “Within Contra Costa, Alameda and Marin communities, obesity rates among children range from 25-35%, putting young people at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early coronary heart disease, stroke, several types of cancer, asthma, and type 2 diabetes.”
    Smith points out that nearly 75% of healthcare dollars goes to treating chronic disease and only about 5% towards prevention.  “It makes perfect sense that we shift how we deliver those healthcare dollars and invest in prevention now,” he says. The organization has taught classes in over 60 schools, community centers, organizations and farmera’ markets and has reached approximately 10,000 students, their families and community. Now, KCL is looking to teach back-to-back after school classes at Laurel Dell Elementary School in the Canal neighborhood of San Rafael, home to low-income residents, mainly immigrants from a variety of countries.
    “KCL strives to afford each child an equal chance to succeed academically, especially in the low income communities that we serve,” says Smith. “A healthy, balanced diet improves brain capacity, maximizes cognitive capabilities, and improves academic performance in school-age children.”
    In order to proceed with their envisioned classes at Laurel Dell Elementary, KCL is in the process of a campaign to raise $10,000, which would pay for the program, including food and ingredients, for an entire school year. Kids Cooking for Life has turned to seeking financial support through the national crowdfunding web platform 100 Extraordinary Women (100extraordinarywomen.com). This is a way for women to come together in support of KCL by raising $10,000 or more.
    100 Extraordinary Women is a national organization that empowers women to join together to support causes they believe in and create a bigger impact than they could on their own. 100 Extraordinary Women is asking a minimum of 100 women to each donate or pledge $100 to the Kids Cooking for Life campaign.  Pledges can be made directly on the 100 Extraordinary Women website https://100extraordinarywomen.com/kids-cooking-for-life/.  
    Smith says KCL program evaluation indicates their students enjoy the experience of cooking and learning, demonstrate a greater appreciation of healthy food, are able to replicate many KCL recipes at home, can decipher nutrition labels, count calories, and recognize healthy portion sizes. After participating in the KCL program, students are better prepared to learn at school, have improved test scores, miss fewer days of school and have higher self-esteem. 
    About Kids Cooking for Life
    Kids Cooking for Life is a non-profit organization that works within Bay Area schools, community centers, places of worship, and hospitals to create confident, competent young cooks armed with the knowledge to make healthy food choices for life and share this knowledge with their friends and families. More information about KCL can be found at kidscookingforlife.org. 
    About 100 Extraordinary Women
    100 Extraordinary Women has helped raise millions of dollars for charitable organizations. More information can be found at https://100extraordinarywomen.com/about
    Lara Rajninger, Executive Director
    (415) 637-1414