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Making A Difference: Cooking Class Helps Students With Down Syndrome

Posted: 6:26 PM, May 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-31 18:26:21-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)– A special class is empowering children with Down Syndrome to get to work in the kitchen.

It’s offered in conjunction with the Fayette County Co-Op service at the University of Kentucky. Fayette Extension Program Assistant Jacqui Denegri is used to teaching people to cook, but these days, her classrooms are a little more diverse.

“When I first started, I was kind of panicky because I was like, I’ve never worked with Down Syndrome children. I don’t know,” she said.

For the second time, teens from the Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky took part in a six week cooking class.

Aside from using special knives and stirring spoons, everything the teens use is just as you’d find in any other kitchen.

“First I tell them they’ll chop big, and then they’ll work, and we work and work until we get it down, and they love it,” said Denegri.

Mom Courtney Elbert said that the classes have been invigorating for both her and her 15-year-old son, Sam.

“It helps me realize he can do a lot in the kitchen if I step back and let him, or give him guidance when he needs it,” said Elbert.

Denegri has seen it as an opportunity to learn, realizing that with the right tools, anyone can be a success in the kitchen.

“Love them. It’s so rewarding,” said Denegri.