Nutrition and healthy cooking classes for adults with disabilities

OSU Extension-Hamilton County brings free healthy cooking and nutrition classes to many WeTHRIVE! communities and schools. Thanks to Phyllis Thomas, a member of Golf Manor’s WeTHRIVE! team, adults with disabilities have been taking these same classes at LADD (a WeTHRIVE! partner), where she has worked for more than 20 years.

What is LADD?

LADD stands for Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled. It was founded in 1975 by parents of children with developmental disabilities who wanted to give their children a chance to live independently as adults. Housing opportunities are still a big part of LADD’s work today, but the organization also offers services to help adults with developmental disabilities work and connect within the community.

Health and wellness are priorities for LADD

“LADD takes pride in the health and wellness of the people we serve,” Phyllis says. “We assist individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible in their homes. We strive to help them stay healthy by offering a balance of health and wellness initiatives around mental, physical, and nutritional wellness.”

OSU Extension goes to LADD

For the past few years, Phyllis has coordinated with OSU Extension-Hamilton County (a WeTHRIVE! partner) to bring nutrition and healthy cooking classes to adults served by LADD. Fred Paul from OSU Extension teaches the Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP) series of classes about three times per year at LADD.

In a kitchen, one male adding spices to pot and one male stirring food in the pot.
Participants prepare a meal as part of OSU Extension’s healthy cooking class at LADD.

“Fred and Phyllis have collaborated for several years to bring hands-on EFNEP classes to multiple LADD sites in Hamilton County,” says Amy Habig, program manager for OSU Extension-Hamilton County. “I recently observed one of the programs where Fred was teaching at Find-A-Way apartments. The participants learned and practiced food preparation skills like measuring, mixing, straining, and cutting by preparing skillet lasagna. While preparing the recipe, the group discussed ways to adapt the recipe to meet their preferences and how to store foods properly.”

Adult looking at containers showing different amounts of sugar and male in background preparing for cooking class.
Learning about added sugars.

Cooking classes are popular

Participants enjoy the EFNEP class series. “They don’t want it to end!” Phyllis says. In addition to the skills, information, and recipes they come away with, they meet new people and build relationships.

Group of adults sitting at tables with one instructor at the front of the room.
Fred Paul of OSU Extension-Hamilton County leads a class at LADD.

Phyllis says she’s thankful for OSU Extension and the free classes they offer. She especially appreciates that EFNEP instructors are able to come to LADD facilities in the evenings, when more people can attend.

Amy adds, “We are honored to work with partners and participants who are excited about making healthier, safer food choices for themselves and their families!”