Because of Lauren’s classes on Rikers, she has seen so many young people who have (regretfully) made poor choices in life; choices that she believes could/would have been different had they had a higher opinion of themselves and of their overall potential. In addition to her work on Rikers, with an eye on prevention (through Hands-On-Food), Lauren also gives cooking demonstrations and motivational seminars to parenting groups in and around the New York area. Although these classes consist of a wide range of demographic groups, the goal is always the same—to raise awareness in the minds and hearts of parents of their ability (and built-in opportunity) to use the kitchen as the perfect place and cooking as a wonderful way to create a home that feels safe, warm and open. As the mother of three, Lauren has personally experienced how, by simply making shared “sit-down” meals a trusted priority, a parent can help a child to feel like an integral part of a sacred tribe—a family.
Because there are more negative outside influences infiltrating the minds of our children on a daily basis than ever before, adding and protecting this wholesome dimension to a household is not just instrumental, it’s vital. There are very real statistics documenting the fact that children who emerge into their teenage years having had family meals on a consistent basis are much less likely to become involved with drugs, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity; they are also less likely to develop an eating disorder. A strong goal of Hands-On-Food, Inc. is to get parents to take the “reins” of their families, in hopes of preventing children from ending up “in trouble.” For more information on the surveys and statistics, please visit www.casacolumbia.org.