Leadership Class Wants Kitchen To Go Beyond Mac ‘N’ Cheese

  Some of the kids who attend Tri-CYA in Huntington Station.

Some of the kids who attend Tri-CYA in Huntington Station.

Eleven individuals, one goal: create a space where healthy eating and better food habits can go hand in hand, giving kids a head start, no matter their income level.

This year’s project for Leadership Huntington’s Class of 2018 is going to center on helping youths of Huntington Station.

“Most of our class this year has worked with youth and we all felt we wanted to create something sustainable that could make a lasting impression on the lives of kids who need it most,” said class member Cindy Grimm.

Martine MacDonald, a Leadership classmate and youth counselor at Tri-CYA, took the group on a tour of the facility, but focused on the small kitchen area.

He said, “It is difficult and expensive for families and youth to have access to healthy foods. Many local youth are living at or below the poverty level. Improving the facility and the food quality will hopefully have long lasting positive effects.”

After seeing the need, the Class of 2018 decided on making a café space where children could not only eat healthy snacks, but also learn about the healthy alternatives available at grocery stores that can be prepared at home.

The class hopes to raise funds for new cabinets, counters and café tables and chairs, as well as secure a possible sponsor for an on-going healthy snack program.

Director Debbie Rimler explained that Tri-CYA is open six days and four evenings a week, year-round to provide “educational, recreational, cultural, counseling and advocacy programs” for youths ages 5-21 and their families.

Rimler continued, “Tri-CYA is very grateful for Leadership Huntington’s generosity and commitment to the local community in taking on this important project.”

Leadership Huntington Program Director Stephanie Gotard was impressed with the scope of the group’s plan.

“By creating a space where the children can learn about nutrition and cook healthy delicious meals, this project will have a tremendous impact on the Huntington community,” Gotard said.

As June graduation approaches, class members are hoping to begin work immediately.

Classmate Liz Uzzo has already helped get plans drawn up.

“H2M architects + engineers is a longtime supporter of Leadership Huntington and is committed to help build better communities,” Uzzo said. “This is exactly the type of project the center needs.”

Tri-CYA is located at 809 New York Ave., Huntington Station. To learn more about it, or help out with the project, contact Martine MacDonald at 631-673- 0614 or mmacdonald@tricya.org; or Debbie Rimler at 631-673- 0614 or drimler@tricya.org.