Mary Frances Kelley
Since 2014, Mary has changed families’ lives as a Class Assistant for 17 courses, and 2 tours, serving 200 families total. Mary achieved Hall of Fame status in 2017.
"I became aware of Cooking Matters while in culinary school at Cook Street. After graduation I began teaching classes. The students with whom I have had the privilege to work continue to "wow" me with their interest in healthy cooking and sharing family meals.
My favorite classes (I have enjoyed every class) included a Parents and Family Class. At the beginning, each family member discussed the challenges of time and money needed to eat healthy. As the class evolved I saw families come together cooking and also coming together with each other in new ways. At graduation each family shared what they liked and what they learned. Comments included how much they loved cooking together and how much each of them learned about themselves and their family members. It was about food and it was about knowing each other better and reaching new goals together.
Needless to say there was not a dry eye in the room!
Another class included teenagers with special needs who were working towards living independently. It was a very diverse group with students who each had individual challenges. We adjusted for these unique circumstances by working with each student as others watched and took their turns to practice various skills. One member of the group had a significant hearing deficit. During the class at which we made pancakes I would say, "voila" as each student would flip their pancake. The interpreter for this student was puzzled as to how to express the word. Together the group devised a raising of hands and fingers above heads to "sign" this event.
Most of our students work hard to make classes. One student, who took the bus would come an hour early because that was the only way she could get to class. She also shared with us that going to the grocery store was only once a month. Our students make significant efforts to be in the program and it has been an honor for me to work with such amazing folks."
Want to volunteer in your community?
We offer programming in 55 of Colorado’s 64 counties!