Cooking up a community

September 12, 2014 by Ricci Hoffman
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A LifeSkills Cooking Program for adults living with disability has done more than teach skills; it has helped to bring together a community.


Happy cookers

Happy cookers

A graduation ceremony, held at The Manders Villas on 4 September, became a celebration of inclusion, with the release of a cookbook and DVD highlighting the course’s success.

Mike Debinski, Jewish Care President explained: “The objective of LifeSkills was not only to develop budgeting, cooking and food handling skills, but to also promote community inclusion, develop team building and communication skills, enhance social interaction, build confidence and independence and reduce social isolation.”

Participant Ian Leonard with volunteer Robyn Boyar, who helped facilitate the course.

Participant Ian Leonard with volunteer Robyn Boyar, who helped facilitate the course.

Over four separate nights, some 40 to 50 people came to The Manders Villas as dinner guests. They were served a delicious meal by their hosts, listened to presentations and shared in a most special evening.

“What became the real success of this course, was the bond that grew between those who participated, the buzz that was created in the community and the sense of empowerment that participants would feel at being the catalyst for such a wonderful thing,” said Debinski.

Mr Debinski thanked donors for their support and praised the wonderful efforts of volunteer and program facilitator Robyn Boyar, and Ross Perryman, Jewish Care Community Inclusion Outreach Program Coordinator.

A short video titled ‘Master Chefs’ was produced which shows the journey that the course participants experienced. The video can be viewed at

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