Students in the Baltimore City Community College Refugee Youth Project (RYP) threw a fall gala replete with international foods and the unveiling of their very own cookbook, Friday, Nov.30, at First English Lutheran Church in Charles Village. The cookbook, RYP Cooks, was created by students from the RYP Upton site and features authentic recipes from 18 different countries and exotic dishes like Zaalouk, a cooked salad from Morocco, Kurdish cota from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and traditional American favorites. Delicious cuisine inspired by recipes from thecookbook was served by Rob’s Catering. As part of the festivities, a 50/50 raffle and silent-auction fundraiser backdropped student-led cookbook sales and rockn' roll entertainment provided by The Objections, a popular Baltimore ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s musical group. Over 160 people assisted to raise money to support safe transportation home from RYP activities for students, fund field trips andsupplies for the more than 300 participants in the program.
"The highlight of the evening for me was seeing our students’ reactions to all the support we received at RYP. You should have seen their faces when one woman paid $100 for a single cookbook! They know and love the volunteers who help out on site every day, but it was great for them to see so many other faces who believe in them and support our cause,” said Kursten Pickup, Refugee Youth Project coordinator.
A total of $5,200 was raised at the gala. RYP is particularly grateful to Rob's Catering for donating the food; The Objections for donating their musical talent and time; Zoe Bachman for facilitating cooking lessons exploring the important themes of identity surrounding food and home which led to the creation of the cookbook; and all UMBC volunteers – especially Christie Smith – for helping to organize and set up the event. Additional thanks are extended to all local businesses who contributed to the auction or donated beverages.
Since 2003, the Refugee Youth Project (RYP) has provided quality after-school programming for refugee youth in grades pre-K through 12 in the Baltimore metro area. RYP is committed to its mission of creating a safe environment for refugee children to improve their literacy skills, enhance their knowledge of American culture, engage in enriching extracurricular activities, and grow to be confident, caring children.