Power of One: A recipe for special friendship
Published Monday, October 3, 2011 7:59AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 8, 2012 4:50PM EDT
MONTREAL- A sprinkle of love, a dash of affection, and a pinch of patience are among the more important ingredients in the recipe for friendship.
For three years Danielle Dichter has been whipping up a menu of love alongside some special kids at a unique program at the Friendship Circle in Cote-des-Neiges.
The group aims to socialize and provide useful activities to developmentally-handicapped children of the Jewish community.
And for Dichter that mandate comes in the form of teaching youth how to chop, dice, fry, sauté and all of the other culinary strategies necessary to becoming masters of the kitchen.
"They're learning about new vegetables, new spices that they've never heard of before or that they've never tried," she says.
The Friendship Circle is a decade-old, independently-run group modeled on its namesake progenitor founded in Detroit in 1994. It seeks to integrate special needs kids into the world that the rest of us enjoy by developing friendships between them and other teens.
And the fact that Dichter does it in a tasty fashion is just icing on the cake.
"She is very nice person because when we need help with the cooking she's there for us," says Matthew Gomberg, a student in the cooking course.
Dichter says the course was cooked up by popular demand.
"It was just something they really liked doing. They were always asking for more baking activities. I guess there is definitely something to be said for the sweet tooth," says Dichter.
"What it's turned into today is more than I ever thought it would become. And the more it grows, the better it is," she says.
One student says that Dichter's herself is the key ingredient in the success of the culinary class.
"Not only is she a good chef but she's a really good person. Everybody loves her, including me," says Emma Shriar.
And colleagues concur.
"Danielle brought this whole new vision, this whole new flavor," says Rabbi Leibele Rodal, Friendship Circle PR representative.
The teacher considers the teaching a treat.
"It's definitely a rewarding experience. It's very special to work with these kids and to put a smile on their face, to let them know that their capable of doing something that anybody else could do," says Dichter.