July 1, 2016

Partly sunny

A recipe for new life skills

Maria Kacik | The Gazette

BRUNSWICK — A group of campers got more than just some tasty treats and healthy recipes when they received cooking instructions this week.

They also learned some valuable life lessons.

“Does anybody know what patience means?” Chef Gary Quesada, owner of Main Street Café in Medina, asked the children and adults of the Life Steps summer camp as he showed them how to carefully chop vegetables. “It means taking your time, not being in a hurry. It’s easy to make a mistake when you are in a hurry.”

ABOVE: Corey Beekman, a camper at Medina Creative Accessibility’s Life Steps camp, from left, mixes a ranch dip Tuesday while Program Director Roxanne Chavez and camper Ashley Novince watch. BELOW: Main Street Café chef and owner Gary Quesada, from left, and Life Steps campers Ashley Yeager and Nikki Brandon enjoy the fruits of their labor — a ranch dip and fresh chopped vegetables. (Maria Kacik | Gazette)

The Life Steps camp is run out of a Hathaway Drive home maintained by Medina Creative Accessibility, a division of Medina Creative Housing, which provides homes for special needs clients in the county.

Each week the Life Steps camp-goers — all children and adults with physical or developmental disabilities — learn a new skill they can use in everyday life.

This week they take on cooking.

“What we’re trying to do is get them ready for living on their own,” said Quesada, who is spending all week at the day camp.

He said he’s going to teach the students about hand washing, proper food handling and healthy food choices.

“We’re going to reinforce that every day,” he said.

Later in the week the students will take a trip to the West Side Market in Cleveland to learn about grocery shopping, which also will teach a lesson on spending money.

“They are loving this,” said Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty, director of Medina Creative Housing. “We are working on social skills as we do this. It’s not only cooking.”

Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@ohio.net.