Cooking Crew Leader and Nutrition Educator

The Teen Cooking Crew Leader and Nutrition Educator is a hybrid position with two distinct yet complementary parts. As the Teen Cooking Crew Leader, this position will supervise a crew of twelve teenagers, coordinate youth-led nutrition and cooking outreaches in the community, and build and sustain community partnerships. As the Nutrition Educator, this position will teach nutrition and food systems classes in two West Philadelphia high schools, one of which is the home base for the cooking crew.   After school and in the classroom, this position facilitates youth’s asking questions and making connections between personal choices and systems as they relate to food, nutrition, and health. 

 UNI’s Youth Development Program provides paid internships in nutrition education and urban agriculture to one hundred and fifty West Philadelphia teenagers annually.

UNI empowers teen interns to explore and identify solutions to health disparities, promote healthy lifestyles and build a just and sustainable food system.

By teaching healthy cooking classes, tending school gardens, and operating local farmer’s markets, AUNI interns increase access to local, organic, affordable, nutritious, and culturally-relevant food; create tools to build food sovereignty; provide a space to deepen our relationship to the land, our food and each other; and improve community health while developing academic and job skills. Additionally, interns involved in this program play a lead role in advancing youth-led solutions to improving community food systems through participation in multiple regional and national networks and conferences. For more information on our Youth Development program, check out our webpage.

 Details of Position:

 Nutrition Educator

September through mid-June, partner with teachers and school administration in two high schools. Weekly, throughout the academic year, for 20 hours per week, plan and prepare lessons, conduct 10 nutrition school day lessons, and establish after school fruit stands with assistance from teacher partners. Meet with teachers on a regular basis throughout the school year. Attend/present at professional development sessions at assigned schools in September and June, and within UNI.
Additionally, conduct school wide distribution of monthly materials and food tastings. Mentor and supervise Penn students and volunteers to assist in classroom teaching, after school activities, and peer education programming. Participate in special events at assigned schools. Supervise high school youth.

 Teen Cooking Crew Leader

This portion of the position requires 20 hours per week leading a small team of 12 high school aged students in the an intensive food education outreach program. As with the school day component of the position, the goal of the program is to foster youth leadership; improve dietary knowledge, habits and status of Philadelphia youth, increase knowledge of food systems, increase access to healthy foods, empower teens to become peer educators; and additionally, to improve/maintain high levels of academic performance; and provide teens with job training in culinary arts.
Requires interaction with and supervision of high school and college students. Collaborate closely with other youth program coordinators, community partners, school teachers, and parents. Duties entail the planning, implementation, and oversight of training activities to prepare participating youth for their work. Assist with developing outreach partnerships, outreach planning, and event planning. Chaperone field trips, support special events and prepare youth for conferences.

 Overall responsibilities:

  • Lesson planning, recipe planning
  • Creating engaging lessons to teach topics in nutrition, social justice, food sovereignty and cooking basics such as knife safety, hygiene, and culinary techniques.
  • Coordinating youth-led nutrition outreaches in the community
  • Teaching nutrition and food systems lessons during the school day with assistance from teacher partners; providing teachers with educational materials to use with their students in between scheduled UNI staff lessons/activities
  • Training and supervising undergraduate interns.
  • Building and sustaining community and school partnerships.
  • Providing a high quality youth development experience for 12 teen interns by reinforcing expectation policies, being a positive adult role model, and forming relationships with the students and their families and teachers.
  • Improving students’ skills in critical thinking, leadership and social responsibility. 
  • Participating in regular feedback and evaluation of youth interns.
  • Helping youth interns to find their personal connection to UNI’s mission, fostering youth buy-in, and making food justice relevant for them.
  • All aspects of youth internships, including recruitment, retention, benchmark tracking, and payroll.

In addition, this position is responsible for attending weekly meetings with supervisor and bi-weekly meetings with UNI staff.

 Desired Qualities:

  • Committed to justice and equality
  • Committed to openness, transparency, and fairness
  • Polite, humble, and willing to learn
  • Respectful of all people, cultures, and backgrounds
  • Willing to work both independently and collaboratively 

Desired skills and experiences:

  • Experience working with and empowering teenagers.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Knowledge of nutrition, food sovereignty and social justice.
  • Minimum of 2 years of teaching experience and/or experience working with youth.
  • Experience working with a diversity of backgrounds.
  • Experience working in the food industry, specifically in natural and sustainable foods or strong personal experience with such foods.
  • The ability to communicate well with diverse members and partners, including teenagers, parents, staff and teachers
  • Able to multi-task
  • The ability to make curriculum relevant to 10-12th grade urban public school students of varying academic abilities.
  • The ability to hold students to a high standard of discipline and accountability.
  • Able to work in a physically demanding environment (ability to cart large quantities of food and supplies to and from school sites)
  • Familiarity with West Philadelphia
  • Experience facilitating group discussions and group decision-making
  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Excellent computer skills, especially MS Excel and Google documents

Time Commitment: 

  • 40 hours per week with 1.5 weeks off for winter break and additional vacation days
    • School-year: schedule is Monday through Friday with evening work until 7:00 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The remaining hours are for day time nutrition education and lesson planning. 
    • Summer: schedule for last two weeks of June is Monday through Friday 9-5; in July and first two weeks of August is Monday through Thursday: 7-3 and Friday: 9-5.

 To apply, please send your resume and cover letter as one PDF file to


 If you have a question about the position, please first read this posting and our website carefully, and then feel free to contact We will do our best to respond. Please do not contact us to check on the status of your application.

Philadelphia, PA
Publicaton Date: 
Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 12:00am
Company Name: 
West Philadelphia Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI)
Job Type: