That evening, a group of seven students from the Amigos Program gathered together to learn the art of pizza-making, under the skillful leadership of Chef Miguel Hernandez. While the youth talked at first about how much they enjoy eating pizza, they had never had the opportunity to make one from scratch, until then.
Miguel carefully guided the participants, step by step, through the process of dough making and pizza dressing. Preparing the dough is undoubtedly the most involved component of the work as it requires careful attention. The participants made their dough, kneaded it and then, once it was ready, they started to flip it in the air so as to get an even crust, without tears or holes. This generated a great deal of laughter and definitely looked fun!
There's nothing like flipping the dough through the air to areate it! Obviously, the group took well to this approach!
Once the dough was ready. Each participant dressed individual pizzas according to their liking, before placing them in the oven to cook. At the end, everyone was able to gather together and enjoy their pizza while chatting about their program and activities.
While pizza making was not a familiar experience for the Amigos members, they are cooks of a different kind. Wherever they go, whatever they do, they offer a Recipe for Inclusion. And just like Chef Miguel's approach, their efforts look amazingly simple. They use quality ingredients which are easy to find:
- A dash of spare time
- A dollop of intention
- A pinch of commitment to building friendships
Mixed together with passion and fun, this recipe has illustrated, for the past 10 years, that friendships grow across differences and abilities. And just like the young cooks will never think of pizza in the same light again, participants in the Amigos program are forever transformed by their experiences.
Currently the Amigos's program is running in 7 schools in the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board. If you want to find more about it, contact Caitlin Dunham at 705.745.1700