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Youth Outreach kitchen serving up more than food

Grace Horn (left), Tower View Alternative School Independent Living Skills Chelsea Will and Alex Selisky pose in the new Youth Outreach kitchen. Submitted photo1 / 2
Aimee Clites2 / 2

By Aimee Clites, Red Wing Youth Outreach

In my first column, Youth Outreach put out the call for support from the community to help finish our kitchen renovation fundraiser strong to make it a debt-free reality (RE, Nov. 22, 2017). Not only were we able to raise the funds to complete the project, the renovation is complete!

On Jan. 18, our Tower View Alternative School Independent Living Skills class had the opportunity to break-in the new kitchen with an end-of-semester breakfast celebration.

Grace Horn and Alex Selisky, two students in the ILS class, had previous experience in the old kitchen, and I interviewed them to hear their feedback on what ILS is like now that we have a fully functioning kitchen.

How long have you been connected to Youth Outreach?

Grace: Since freshman year, three years

Alex: About three years

Describe what cooking in the "makeshift kitchen" was like in the past when you've been at Youth Outreach.

Grace: Crowded, but it worked. We had to take turns who could go in the kitchen, only a few at a time. There also were limited supplies to use for the actual cooking.

Alex: It was fun, but rather crowded and couldn't do too much, we couldn't cook anything really without the full kitchen appliances.

How was your experience today in the newly renovated kitchen space?

Grace: Wonderful! I had a lot of fun, and everyone had job duties. We were able to all cook together at the same time, I loved it!

Alex: The kitchen is beautiful and there is plenty of room to move around freely. All the new cooking appliances are great.

How would nutrition and cooking classes help you now and in the future?

Grace: You are what you eat. Being able to cook for yourself and have it not be frozen and processed food makes you feel good.

Alex: Nutrition and cooking classes can help you learn how to cook for when you're on your own in the future.

How has Youth Outreach benefited/helped you in the past and currently?

Grace: Youth Outreach has helped me become a more responsible person. Knowing how to budget and communicate with people I might not want or know how to communicate with!

Alex: Youth Outreach has taught me so much about living on my own. I feel a lot more prepared for my future thanks to Youth Outreach.


The kitchen truly is a game changer for our organization. We will be able to teach and empower students to make healthier choices when it comes to the food they buy, prepare, and consume.

After our initial test run through the kitchen with this group, we have found that we still have some staple items necessary for our kitchen to thrive in the long run. If you are interested in donating to this cause, you can either send a monetary donation to Youth Outreach, 410 Guernsey Lane, Red Wing, or head to Target and check out our kitchen registry for the additional kitchen items needed: