It starts in the kitchen!

The Sylvia Center teaches young people how to cook. Our students learn critical life skills that build a foundation for a healthy life.


This work is critical.

Nearly one in four young people in NYC, and one in six in Columbia County, live with food insecurity.

Our mission is to open new possibilities for young people by increasing knowledge of and desire for healthy foods. Every child and adolescent, regardless of income, should have access to healthy meals and be able to achieve their maximum potential.

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When young people learn how to cook with The Sylvia Center, they:

Learn the essential skills of the kitchen and nutrition

Understand how to make healthy meal choices

Grow their own taste for fresh fruits and vegetables

Adopt positive habits that impact lifelong health

Share what they’ve learned with their own community

The roots of health disparities start to develop in childhood:

In the Communities we serve:

Consume at least one sugary beverage daily

Are overweight or obese

Eat less than recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables

Learning to cook helps young people take control of what they put into their own bodies.

The Sylvia Center is a part of a growing movement to empower the next generation of healthy eaters and cooks. The problem may be big, and the stakes high, but together we can lift up young people to take their own place at the table.

Our Impact

Students in our hands-on programs are more likely to eat fresh and healthy foods, and build real-world skills:

Improve their diet by eating more fruits and vegetables

Significantly improve their cooking skills

Understand how to make a healthy meal for themselves

Really “LOVE TO COOK!”

Our Programs

Fresh Food

Tailored for our youngest students, our Fresh Food programming focuses on exposing them to fresh, healthy foods.


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Full Plate

Geared toward our elementary and middle school students, our Full Plate programming focuses on building confidence in the kitchen through nutrition education and learning fundamental cooking skills.

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Community Table

Our Community Table programming aims to expose our high school students to opportunities that connect their passion for food with long-term career development.

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Our Programs in Action

Through our programs, young people learn essential skills in the kitchen and gain the confidence to make healthier choices now, and in the future. Young people are applying the skills they learn in our cooking classes to other areas of their life and becoming advocates for healthy communities.

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Current News

Summer with The Sylvia Center!

Beginning July 13th, we will share a dynamic weekly series of daily themed videos on our social media channels. Check out the summer schedule.

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In Full Bloom

Our Sylvia Center team has partnered with local food-focused organizations to bring virtual cooking classes (and farm fresh ingredients!) to families in Columbia County.

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Leaders of Tomorrow!

Now more than ever, we celebrate our incredible Teen Culinary Apprenticeship graduates as they become food justice leaders in their own communities.

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