Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley Prepare Kids for Real World with Vocational Education Initiative Programs

Vocational Education Initiative Prepares Youth

Tonya Omeliantschuk

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley isn’t just another place for kids to hang out after school. It is a haven that offers competitive sports, arts and crafts, computer labs, and college and workforce preparedness programs. Many well-paying jobs in demand now do not necessarily require a college degree but do require high-quality vocational skills. One of the best job opportunities, especially in the Coachella Valley, falls under the category of hospitality, specifically in the field of culinary arts. Not only do the kids learn how to prepare meals, but they learn how to communicate, collaborate, and work as a team member at Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley. Their critical thinking and decision making improves, as well as their initiative and self-direction.

Guest speakers, who are seasoned professionals, are periodically scheduled to motivate and encourage their young audience to set life goals. One such speaker recently was 33-year-old chef, Tonya Omeliantschuk, a cook, and consultant for The Pampered Chef. Tonya enjoys offering others, especially children, the tools to learn to cook. Not only does she share her talents as a cook, but she also sparks creativity in the food preparations, promotes healthier eating habits, and provides skills that they will use for a lifetime.

“I was so pleased to hear that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley has a program that offers a safe and positive environment for kids to grow and learn together,” said Tonya. “I could just tell by walking through the Indio clubhouse that this is a great place where they can feel comfortable, make new friends, and learn fun skills as a group.”

Tonya welcomed her group of students to the industrial kitchen. She could tell they were a little nervous so, after introductions and the first cooking instructions, the kids relaxed with big smiles as this experience was shaping up to be a fun one. They learned that cooking can be fun as one discovers new ingredients and makes food the way they like it. One of the younger children had never seen a green onion. The boy soon learned and appreciated the use and flavor of that simple vegetable that most of us take for granted.

“I decided to make breakfast with them,” said Tonya. “I wanted to show them healthier options they can eat in the morning that aren’t too time consuming or difficult. I made the first Frittata in the microwave while they all watched. Then we took turns letting the kids make them too. The two youngest kids chose to cook together, taking turns whisking the eggs, measuring ingredients, and turning on the microwave. I really enjoyed watching them learn; gather excitedly over a meal they cooked together; and get motivated to try healthier breakfast options they can make themselves.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley operates four clubhouses located in the cities of La Quinta, Indio, Mecca, and Coachella serving thousands of children in the East Valley every year. For more information, please call 760-836-1160 or go to









Image Sources

  • Boys & Girls Club youth: DeAnn Lubell
  • Youth cooking-: DeAnn Lubell