In a busy room, filled with 25 kids from Ottawa Community Housing, Desmond Aldo helps make a healthy snack by squeezing honey into a bowl full of oats.
Desmond and Amillia Riabko acted as sous chefs during a cooking demonstration at the Boys and Girls Club’s Ron Kolbus Clubhouse. The demo was part of a one-day arts camp on March 16 that the housing provider hosted with local celebrities and experts, providing free classes on signing and songwriting, culinary arts, theatre and dance and more.
Camp participant Shauna Derival, an aspiring fashion designer, was really excited about the afternoon session with former community housing tenant Christo Bilukidi, a retired NFL player who is now a co-owner of Idlewood Bespoke, a company that specializes in tailored men’s suits.
“I don’t know a lot about design, but some tips would be really good,” she said, adding she dreams of going to design school in Japan or France.
She also really enjoyed the cooking demonstration.
“I thought it was really delicious,” she said of the sweet and healthy treat that was prepared with the help of nutritionist and author Kathy Smart.
During the demonstration, the kids swarmed the table, answering questions and getting as close to the action as possible.
“Children are very transparent; they either love you or they have no time for you and just that they showed so much interest in how to learn to cook healthy and their enthusiasm that was my favourite moment,” Smart said of her participation in the camp.
“I love inspiring people and especially children, so if I tweaked one person, then I’m happy.”
The day was organized by Stefan Keyes, TV host and tenant ambassador.
“I wanted to organize a day to do something for the kids that wasn’t just preaching at them and talking at them all the time,” Keyes said. He also taught the kids about theatre and acting in a workshop during an afternoon session.
He wanted to bring his skills to the kids to provide them with some exposure to the arts.
“For me, the arts played a big role not only in something to do, but also an outlet, also a way to explore different lives that were so different from my own.”