The Opportunity Center has begun implementing weekly cooking classes for its clients in partnership with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service’s Daviess County Nutrition Education Program.

The Opportunity Center of Owensboro began around 1955 and works to provide vocational and daily living oriented training to adults with disabilities.

Executive Director Sally Phillips said the cooking classes are another way the Opportunity Center is working to improve services for the individuals it serves.

“We did it once before when we used to be affiliated with the Arc of Kentucky. The clients just loved it and loved going there and participating,” she said. “With that name change, we’re just really trying to ...improve things. We’ve always been really good at what we do, but we’re just looking for innovative ways to teach our clients the skills they need to be in the community, and we think that the cooking class is one of those ways we can do that.”

The cooking class takes place each Wednesday and will run for about 12 weeks.

The classes are currently being funded by grant monies and once the 12 weeks are up, Phillips said the center will work to find another grant opportunity to continue the classes.

Classes will be held either at the Opportunity Center or the Extension Office to provide an opportunity for all the clients, even those who may not be able to go out as often, to participate in some way, whether it be in cooking or simply observing.

Phillips said the classes help teach Opportunity Center clients important skills and introduces them to new, healthy ingredients that they may never have tried before.

Classes are taught by Kelly Bland with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

“Kelly, at the Extension Office, is just great with coming up with different ideas that most people wouldn’t even think of, like last time, she put spinach on a grilled cheese sandwich and for some clients, it was the first time they had even had spinach; they’re trying new things, so that’s a good thing,” she said.

Additionally, she said it is a good opportunity for clients to go somewhere different and have someone new in the community to relate to them.

The Opportunity Center had its first class on Oct. 13 and so far, Phillips said, clients seem to enjoy it and being involved in something new.

“On our highest census day, we have about 30 people who come here and that varies from day-to-day, so we’re hoping that at least half of those will, at some point in these 12 weeks, participate or at least be able to observe or do something to be part of that class,” she said.

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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