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Recipe for Success

Culinary Student Creating Recipe for Success at Boys & Girls Club

Ayanna McKnight uses her culinary skills to educate youth about nutrition, cooking

Ayanna McKnight with Boys & Girls Club(CONWAY, SC) July 25, 2018 - For her summer internship, International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach (ICI) student Ayanna McKnight didn’t want to work in a traditional restaurant kitchen. An alumni and counselor of the Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand, McKnight wanted to do more. She worked with ICI Executive Director Joseph Bonaparte and Boys & Girls Club CEO Dione Buonto to create an internship that would meet both her goals and the club’s needs.

As nutrition and food services coordinator, McKnight is responsible for planning and executing a summer nutrition program for the children of the Boys and Girls Club. She leads three classes per day around the topics of nutrition, menu planning, reading labels, budgeting, and cooking skills. She also coordinates the lunch and snack schedules for the 120 children in the summer program.

“This internship has been a wonderful opportunity for me to return to my roots, do what I love, and use my education to make a difference in my community,” McKnight says. “My goal is for this internship to become a full-time job once I graduate from HGTC and the new Boys & Girls facility opens.”

The Boys & Girls Club shares McKnight’s goals.

“The culinary program at HGTC has always been a huge advocate for the Boys & Girls Club.  To know that one of our own is attending the program while giving back to the club is a win-win for us,” said CEO Dione Buonto. “We hope to find a way to create a full-time role for Ayanna once she graduates. We have learned that her role as the food & nutrition coordinator is essential to the success of our program.”

As part of the summer curriculum, McKnight will be taking children on a field trip to a local grocery store on July 18thand July 19that 9:00 am, where students will be able to learn first-hand how to read nutritional labels, navigate a grocery store, and stick to a budget. On August 3rdat 11:00 am, she will take the children on a tour of HGTC’s Grand Strand Campus, including the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle beach.

McKnight will receive course credit for her internship and plans to graduate in May 2019.