The “For children, by children” program has many advantages

WILKES-BARRE — On a quiet Wednesday, students in the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Care System program were busy preparing meals for other students from families in need.

The scene was admittedly calm, but for the families served, the program was a resounding success.

The program is called “For Kids, By Kids” and is part of the federally funded food program which was an idea developed by young people involved in community service through the Juvenile Welfare Court of the Lucerne County.

Program Director Joe Kloss said participants learn to recognize the food insecurity that exists in their community, as evidenced by the number of students who qualify for free/reduced lunch assistance.

“Young people meet once a week during the summer at the Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center to prepare meals for about 150 local children,” Kloss said. “Meals are then distributed to students who participate in Kistler Elementary School’s summer programs.”

Kloss and CYC Executive Director Mark Soprano have said over the past few weeks that the Wyoming Valley CYC has partnered with several other agencies to provide this new food program to children/families in need who attend summer programming. of the Kistler primary school.

The “For Kids By Kids” food program distributes 150 meals to the community each week throughout the summer, and Kloss said it could continue into the fall.

For Kids By Kids food program partners include:

Alfalfa Counties Wyoming MH-DS (Healthcare System)

Luzerne County Welfare Court

Luzerne County Juvenile Probation

Children’s Service Center (diversion team)

Judge Jennifer Rogers

Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center Drop-in center for young people

United Way of the Wyoming Valley

Kistler Elementary School (Wilkes-Barre Area School District)

Prater said he enjoyed cooking for most of his life and also watched all the cooking shows on television.

“I’ve always loved cooking,” Prater said. “And I especially love cooking to help others.”

Prater attends Wilkes-Barre Area High School and he also takes cooking classes at Wilkes-Barre Area Career & Technical Center.

Soprano said participating students range in age from 12 to 18 and arrive at CYC every Wednesday to prepare and package meals which are then distributed to families at Kistler Elementary School.

“It’s a great program,” Soprano said. “Students learn how to prepare meals and they also learn the importance of helping others in the community.”

Kloss agreed, stating that students “learn skills for possible future employment and receive community service credit.”

Kloss said there are about 35 to 40 students in the program.

About the System of Care Initiative

(From his website)

System of care is a philosophy of how services should be provided. The care system aims to change the way young people, families, government and communities fulfill their responsibilities to each other:

• Young people and families are recognized as central to the identification and provision of services and supports,

• All child-serving systems collaborate, share resources and support each other,

• Natural supports are as important as paid services,

• Youth and family organizations support young people and families and help make policy and funding decisions,

• Communities are engaged and transformed to welcome and support all young people and families.

The care system is committed to strengthening the voices of young people and families in the county. Through the care system, an increase in peer support has been developed. Roles such as Family Peers, Family Navigators and Certified Peer Specialists for Youth and Young Adults, and Youth Engagement Specialists were created. These positions provide individual advocacy to the community.

References are currently accepted. Contact Project Director, Joe Kloss at 570-408-1332 — [email protected] – for reference information.

Contact Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

Ryan H. Bowman