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Photo by Lauren "Chuck" Shows

Extracurriculars get kids cooking

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On Monday, Nov. 27, a group of Mills Lawn students donned their aprons and worked together to make bags of trail mix as part of their weekly “Let’s Eat” after-school program — part of the school’s ongoing Mills Lawn Extracurricular Program, or MLEP, which was started last year.

The “Let’s Eat” group, led by parent volunteers Aimee Garcia and Jamie Finch, is made up of third and fourth graders and meets weekly throughout its four-week term to make small dishes together. Garcia told the News after the group’s most recent meeting that the purpose of the group is not just for students to gather over food, but also to explore the ways in which food builds community.

“Food and community are so important together — we get to learn more about each other,” Garcia said. “So we’re teaching the kids how they can make an impact with that.”

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With community impact in mind, the “Let’s Eat” group created their bags of trail mix with a dual purpose: First, to make and enjoy together — with lots of “taste-testing” along the way — and also to donate to the Little Free Pantry, which is located across the street from Mills Lawn in back of First Presbyterian Church of Yellow Springs.

Looking ahead, Garcia said the group plans to hold a tea party — complete with cucumber sandwiches — and discuss the ways in which food forms a vital part of cultural connections.

“Let’s Eat” is just one of several MLEP programs being offered at the moment. While “Let’s Eat” was being held  in a staff lounge, “Boys On the Move,” led by Karla Horvath for boys in grades 4–6, was being held in the gym; though it’s typically held outside, the weather was a little too nippy that afternoon. Also in the gym was “Holiday Gift-Making,” led by Penny Boyer, in which fifth and sixth graders make crafts every week to give to family and friends.

The Mills Lawn Extracurricular Program runs for five, four-week terms throughout the school year, and is led by community volunteers — current and former educators, district parents and local residents. For more information on how to volunteer with the program, contact MLEP coordinator Danielle Lyons at

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