Wellness in the Schools (WITS) is a grassroots, non-profit, community based organization founded in 2005 with the goal of improving the environment, nutrition, and fitness of children in NYC public schools. In partnership with local Departments of Education, Wellness in the Schools operates the Cook for Kids program in public school cafeterias and classrooms to promote healthy eating.
Through the Cook for Kids program, WITS hires culinary graduates who work as partners with the cafeteria staff in preparing daily scratch-cooked meals using healthier food items from the Department of Education’s SchoolFood. This program also aims to help inform families about the importance of eating healthy food. WITS cooks teach children and their families how to cook healthy, delicious, and affordable recipes featuring whole, unprocessed foods through WITS Labs, a series of seasonal cooking classes.
The WITS Cooks for Kids Program at PS199 includes the following:
- Dedicated chef 1 day per week to work with the SchoolFood staff
- Two WITS Cooking Labs per year
- Seasonal Cafe Days
- WITS Bits-Educational classroom programs about healthy eating
Our WITS Chef in Residence, Anne Williams, works alongside our PS 199 cafeteria staff to train, inspire, and support their preparation of the salad bar items and fresh homemade meals. Anne is dedicated to improving the meals served in our cafeteria and encouraging the children to try new foods. Her enthusiasm and spirit ensures that every Cooking Lab and Café Day are as fun for the children as they are educational.
Jenifer Lang and her late husband were the owners of Café D’Artiste, a landmark UWS destination restaurant. She is also the author of several cook books including those for children. Jenifer will participate in several WITS related events, including Cafe Days.
WITS Cooking Labs
Four times a year, Chef Anne conducts a series of cooking labs with the children. Starting in October Anne and the kids will be making simple and healthy recipes. The children have the opportunity to prepare recipes from scratch and then sample what they’ve made. In the process they have the opportunity to learn how to read a recipe, measure and learn simple cooking skills such as chopping and mixing.
Whole Foods Market has donated all of the supplies for the classes and parents are encouraged to volunteer to assist with the labs. Keep checking back to this site for updates. We will be posting the dates of the labs as well as the recipes so families can enjoy them at home.
On Café Days at PS 199, students and faculty have the opportunity to sample new tasty and healthy meals prepared from scratch by Chef Anne and our own kitchen staff. PS 199 parent volunteers assist in serving and making Café Day a special event! You will receive information in your child’s backpack announcing Cafe Days.
To learn more about Wellness in the Schools please visit their website at www.wellnessintheschools.org . If you would like to volunteer at one of the Café Days or Cooking Labs please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.