Neighborhood Services Organization
Each year, some 300 Oklahoma boys begin their 18th birthday knowing they will end the day homeless. After a lifetime of abuse and chaos, they “age out” of foster care. With no family, poor education and few life skills, many end up homeless, in jail or dead.
At NSO’s Carolyn Williams Center (CWC), up to 20 boys at a time have a safe, supervised home while learning a healthy, responsible and independent lifestyle. When NSO opened the CWC in 2005, there were no models on which to build the program.
Today, we ARE the model. But there is a problem. When we built the CWC, we thought a residential-style kitchen would suffice. The kitchen allows preparation of some meals but is inadequate to use as a teaching facility. And after eight years of daily use, it needs an upgrade.
Research continues to link healthy eating to overall life success. Without nutrition and food preparation education, these men gravitate toward vending machine and convenience store foods.
That’s not only unhealthy, it’s expensive. This teaching kitchen will allow NSO to educate the young men on healthy eating, proper cooking and food safety, and ideas for stretching limited food budgets. They’ll learn to keep a kitchen clean and well maintained: skills they need to be fully successful in life – skills they can pass on to their own children one day. It is NSO’s mission to serve the at-risk and homeless population by providing housing solutions and teaching skills to transform lives.