About us

Our mission at The Sylvia Center

is to inspire young people and their families to establish independent healthy eating habits — so that they may lead healthy and productive lives. Through our programs, participants learn what fresh food is, how delicious it tastes, and how to prepare nutritious meals on a daily basis. Watch this video to learn what happens when young people learn to cook, and the impact it has on their lives.

what we do

Build character through cooking. Kids and teens gain confidence in knowing they can do something that’s good for them and their families.

Inspire young people to eat well. Our classes show families that it IS possible to eat fresh, healthy food on a budget.

Fight the epidemic of childhood obesity. Studies show an inverse correlation between rates of obesity and time spent cooking at home.

Build lifelong healthy habits. We expand young people’s willingness to try new foods and encourage them to take their new skills home.

Teach teamwork and problem solving. Young people learn to work together toward the common goal of making healthy, delicious meals.

who we serve


students participate in our programs each year, and bring new knowledge and skills home to their families


of our participating students qualify for free and reduced lunch


We work with elementary school-age children (7-13), teens (14-20), and their families

where we operate

New York City: We conduct series cooking classes in public housing community centers throughout New York City. In these classes, young people and their families are exposed to a wide variety of fresh food and instruction in the cooking techniques needed to prepare a simply, healthy meal.

Upstate New York: From April through November, we work with youth and their families on Katchkie Farm and in local schools and community centers. Youth participate in every step of the story of food from seed to plate—planting seeds, harvesting vegetables, and creating a healthy meal using what they have picked.

why we do what we do

At this critical time, it is essential to familiarize young people with whole, fresh produce and advocate for a healthier diet. The Sylvia Center teaches young people an essential skill, how to cook healthy meals, so that they can make good choices for themselves and their families for life.