Cooking Classes in the Juvenile Probation Department.
The Creativity Shell is a nonprofit organization on a mission to use creative trades to educate and inspire the next generation of makers. The organization teaches classes such as sewing/textile arts, cooking, building and other creative trades to students in our studios, libraries, schools, ABA therapy centers, the juvenile justice system as well as shelters that rescue children from homelessness and human trafficking. All classes are designed to teach children essential life skills, practical skills, and positive mental health coping skills.
Since the Creativity Shell was formed in 2015, their creative programs have been an integral ally that is fostering positive mental health in the children they are serving in the community. Creativity Shell programs have been successful at creating therapy for sex trafficking survivors, helping children cope and manage anxiety, building fine motor skills for children on the autism spectrum, teaching life skills to homeless students and being an overall positive organization in the community that continue to teach skills to students and teach them to use their skills to give back to the community.
When the organization began teaching cooking and sewing classes to 11 incarcerated youths in the Harris County Juvenile Probation System in 2021, the impact of the classes on the first day was positively welcomed by the youths. Cooking programs were expanded to a neighboring facility where an additional 45 incarcerated youths were referred to the Creativity Shell for classes and youths taking classes could use the credits earned in classes towards their high school diploma or GED. “The program is going very well, the youth feedback has been tremendous,” says Antoine Green, who is a Juvenile Probation Officer/Resource Liaison at the Harris County Leadership Academy. “It is a wonderful program!” Echoed Kenya Warren, principal at the Harris County Leadership Academy. “Some of the kids even wrote a grievance when they couldn’t have class last week! Wow, just wow!” Added Warren.
Youths are learning to cook their own recipes from scratch such as French toast muffins, crepes, homemade ice-cream, pancakes, waffles and more. Students enrolled in Creativity Shell cooking and sewing classes also receive credit towards their High School Diploma or GED. Students are being graded on practical skills such as the ability to make food/clothing items. Students are also being graded on fundamental skills such as problem solving, coping, perseverance and decision-making skills. “We are hoping that our programs will provide students with job ready skills such as working in the food industry and/or working as teachers for the Creativity Shell where they can use skills learned to give back to other youths in need.” Says Shelancia Daniel, founder and executive director at the Creativity Shell. “More than anything else however, we are so happy to hear them talk about making some our recipes or sewing projects once they are released from incarceration and that is very special to hear them making positive plans.” Added Daniel.
Creativity Shell sewing and cooking programs in the Juvenile Probation Department are funding through small grants but mostly though the generosity of donors. In 2022, the Creativity Shell will like to expand their programs even more by adding a total of 150 students to cooking and sewing classes. The cost to teach each student is $500 and the Creativity Shell will need to raise $75,000 to pay for the costs of sending in teachers, materials, equipment and supplies.
Please consider donating $5, $50, $500 or $5000 to help the Creativity Shell continue to use creative trades such as sewing and cooking classes to educated and inspire the next generation of makers.