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We want to help people lead healthier and more financially secure lives by inspiring and empowering them to make better decisions. That’s one reason why we partnered with the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada to support their Cooking Toward Independence program.

Cooking Toward Independence improves the lives of young people leaving foster care by funding nutrition and cooking skills workshops. Often, youth from care have not been adequately taught, or exposed to, basic culinary and nutrition knowledge, and are left without these skills when they transition to independent living.

This can create numerous challenges in managing a healthy lifestyle on a limited budget, and can lead to chronic conditions and other ailments later in life. By supporting young people through skill-building workshops, Cooking Toward Independence helps ease their transition from care, and assists them in building a stable future.

Young people shopping during a Cooking Toward Independence outing

“Every year in Canada, approximately 2,300 youth age out of our foster care system,” explains Valerie McMurty, President and CEO, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada. “These young people are forced to face the overwhelming task of establishing their independence with little to no financial or emotional support.”

“Programs like Cooking Toward Independence are critical in providing the support and skills that young people need to transition effectively from care to independent living. Those who participate gain not only practical skills, but also self-confidence. And the knowledge they gain about making healthy food choices lays a strong foundation for overall wellness,” says Amélie Picher, Director, Community Investment, Manulife.

Programs like Cooking Toward Independence are critical in providing the support and skills that young people need to transition effectively from care to independent living. 

Funding from Manulife enables child welfare agencies across Canada to offer the Cooking Toward Independence program to young people aged 14 to 26 in a way that best suits each agency’s needs. With our support, 1,500 young people will benefit from this program.

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