Cooking on the Hillside

Cooking on the Hillside is a program that engages high school youth in making healthy, nutritious food choices while learning cooking and food safety skills. The program occurs once a week at Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (Hillside). The mission of Hillside is to increase the graduation rates of students by providing long-term advocacy, academic resources, life skills development, and job training. This results in self-sufficient, contributing adults in the community. The Cooking on the Hillside class fits into Hillside’s after school programming aimed at providing academic and economical guidance for at risk youth of the Syracuse City School District. The program is voluntary; students are recruited for the program at the beginning of each semester and expected to consistently attend.


To familiarize high school students with basic nutrition concepts and cooking skills that they can apply in daily life and in the future.

Information about Hillside:
Each week, 10-15 Hillside’s high school students attended program. The students varied in age from 14 to 19 years old and all of them were enrolled in the Hillside program. Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection is an after school program for students from the four Syracuse City School District (SCSD) high schools. Students in the program have at least two risk factors of dropping out of school. The risk factors are listed below:

• School attendance between 71% and 85%
• Over age for grade level
• Failing grade in core subjects
• Multiple school suspensions
• Low standardized test scores
• Low Socioeconomic Status

Hillside works with students to encourage them to graduate and work in the community. The Syracuse City School District has a graduation rate of 56%, whereas 92% of Hillside students graduate high school. Hillside Family of Agencies is one of the largest non-profit agencies in New York State and has been a cornerstone of the Rochester, NY, community for more than 170 years. The Cooking on the Hillside program is part of an after school program in the Syracuse Work Scholarship Connection.