The GCD Young Adult program includes Kiara Johnson, Nafiza Webster, Jessica Pyatt, Tania Baez, Katherine Zamorano, Elisa Fleming, Elysee Dougan, Noelle Stanley-Leary, Kwanasia Elfe and Jennifer Castelan. Staff Ryan Keener and Maegan Pollard

The GCD Young Adult program includes Kiara Johnson, Nafiza Webster, Jessica Pyatt, Tania Baez, Katherine Zamorano, Elisa Fleming, Elysee Dougan, Noelle Stanley-Leary, Kwanasia Elfe and Jennifer Castelan. Staff Ryan Keener and Maegan Pollard

The Whole Foods Upper West Side store has teamed up with Jewish Home to teach healthy cooking and eating to participants in one of Jewish Home’s Geriatrics Career Development (GCD) Programs.

The store on 97th Street and Columbus Avenue will provide guided tours, cooking lessons, lunches and gift cards to a group of 18 young adults involved in the new GCD Young Adult initiative, which provides healthcare training to 18-to-24-year-olds who are out of work, out of school and come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

GCD Students and Staff: Shylena Fletcher, Nafiza Webster, Katherine Zamorano, Ryan Keener (GCD Staff) and Catherine Chen (Whole Foods)

GCD Students and Staff: Shylena Fletcher, Nafiza Webster, Katherine Zamorano, Ryan Keener (GCD Staff) and Catherine Chen (Whole Foods)

On May 29, program participants toured the Whole Foods Upper West Side store to learn about healthy eating and shopping. They toured the meat, fish, produce, bulk foods, and bakery sections, followed by discussion geared to the nutrition unit in the Home Health Aide training portion of the program.

Cooking classes for the program will be held at the store on a bi-monthly basis. These classes will expose the students to nutritious food options and some cooking techniques they can utilize as Home Health Aides; building skills that will enable them to better serve the diverse needs of elders throughout New York City who they will eventually assist.

Molly O’Brien, GCD Project Manager, shares “Some of the students have never cooked before, so it is very important to add this into our curriculum to ensure we are training culturally competent healthcare providers. Additionally, we know that many elders experience malnutrition so providing our participants with hands-on knowledge of nutrition and food groups prior to Home Health Aide training is very important.”

Students in Fruit Section (Left to Right) : Whole Foods Staff Catherine Chen, Tania Baez, Katherine Zamorano, Jennifer Castelan, Jessica Pyatt, Kwanasia Elfe

Students in Fruit Section (Left to Right) : Whole Foods Staff Catherine Chen, Tania Baez, Katherine Zamorano, Jennifer Castelan, Jessica Pyatt, Kwanasia Elfe

The monthly lunches provided by Whole Foods will expose participants to new foods and healthy meal options. These nutritional lessons will also be reinforced in the daily lunches that the GCD Young Adult program provides for the participants.

Whole Foods will also donate four $25 gift cards to the young adults in the program, a particularly welcome benefit, as Molly explains, “In the past some program participants have lost their SNAP benefits, while others face regular food and nutrition deficits.”

The GCD Young Adult program was recently honored by the Stanley Isaacs Center .