Erie, PA – The YMCA of Greater Erie, a vital nonprofit organization, has received an $11,000 grant from the Erie County Gaming and Revenue Authority to install a teaching kitchen within the Community Learning Center at the downtown Y at 31 West 10th Street.

“This grant will help us to install a functional kitchen including island, stove, kitchen hood, dishwasher, storage, serving space etc. needed to implement a culinary arts program for low-income youth that participate in the Y’s Teen Center,” said Joey Evans, YMCA Teen Center Director. “The best way to teach kids about eating right is to get them into the kitchen to prepare healthy flavorful meals together. Cooking is a valuable life skill that teaches children about nutrition and food safety, as well as building math, science, literacy and fine motor skills.”

The kitchen will be designed by Weber Murphy Fox and Supply One; the culinary arts program will be led by Lisa Heidelberg, owner of Dinner is Served. We anticipate additional collaborations with the Oasis Market, Mercyhurst University, Erie High School, East Middle School, Strong Vincent Middle School, Collegiate Academy, Gannon University and Erie Center for Arts & Technology.

According to Evans, “The project’s goals are to provide youth-centered, hands-on food literacy education that highlights general nutrition, food safety, selection, preparation, and cooking skills. Effort will be taken to build upon existing skills each week in order to improve skills while empowering the youth by building upon their food related self-esteem and self-efficacy.”

Evans goes on to say, that many of the participating teens assist in the upbringing of their siblings in the absence of parent or guardian. This program could also will provide extended classroom learning and augment the curriculum offered at Erie High School.

ECGRA’s grant will be matched by donations received by the Y through their annual campaign.



Join a community that helps transform lives 

Become a Member »


Reach goals with our classes and programs

View Schedules »


Count on us for safe, high quality education

Enroll Your Child »