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For Immediate Release

Recipe for Independence Pilot is a Recipe for Success!

Nine-week pilot program teaches wellness education and culinary skill building

Raleigh, NC, December 30, 2021

Media Contact:
Laurie Nederveen

During the latter half of 2021, the team at Easterseals UCP launched a nine-week pilot program focused on teaching individuals living with intellectual and developmental disabilities the skills they need to live healthy and independent lives. This independent cooking experience, aptly named Recipe for Independence, infuses wellness education and culinary skill building in a small group setting.

photo of young man cutting carrotsFour participants from Easterseals UCP’s Greenville ICS program and two from our Transition to Independent Living program in Ahoskie joined in on the fun! Our instructors focused on creating an interactive learning experience for everyone involved. The program included a pre-assessment and eight weeks of classroom instruction, which culminated in a showcase event where participants were able to demonstrate what they learned.

Each week the Recipe for Independence team addressed cooking and wellness topics, presented through hands-on learning opportunities:

  • Kitchen safety
  • Comfort with tools and techniques
  • Recipe practice
  • Healthy food access
  • Food as socialization
  • Independent replication at home
  • Social determinants of health
  • Whole person health (food access, employment, socialization, housing)

The results speak for themselves! When pre-assessment and post-assessment results were compared, participants demonstrated increased understanding of the relationship between food and wellness and greatly improved their culinary skills. We also observed a significant increase in kitchen confidence throughout the program! All of the individuals involved in the pilot were excited to continue working on their culinary skills at home.

Easterseals UCP is developing a suite of programs, called Culinary Connections, focused on cooking and wellness instruction. Recipe for Independence was a proof-of-concept pilot program that, if funded, will fall under Culinary Connections. If you or your company are interested in learning more about how you can support Culinary Connections or Recipe for Independence, please contact laurie.nederveen@eastersealsucp.com for more information.

Let’s keep cookin’!


The 2021 Recipe for Independence pilot program was generously funded by Vidant Health’s Community Benefit Grants Program.

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