Kylee's Kitchen serves more than 560 participants annually.

By Meghan Overdeep
September 20, 2019

You might be surprised by the power of a single microwave—how many recipes it can unlock and how much it can mean to a person with Down syndrome.

Every Friday night, through a program called Kylee's Kitchen, The Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma offers microwave-based cooking classes to area teens and adults with Down syndrome. It was created to teach basic cooking skills, encourage independent living, and provide an opportunity for participants to socialize and have fun.

Joe and Nicole McFarlane established Kylee's Kitchen almost five years ago in honor of their daughter, Kylee, who passed away almost 16 years ago from a heart condition.

"Kylee's Kitchen opportunity has been a blessing," Joe and Nicole told The Oklahoman. "It has provided a program that impacts the lives of young adults with Down syndrome and provides our family with a living memorial of our girl. We are able to see Kylee's smile though each participant in the program … the kids, the volunteers and the parents."

With the help of one-on-one volunteers, students in the class create a healthy meal (a side dish, main dish, or dessert) that can be easily replicated at home, and at the end of the night, take home a laminated copy of the recipe.

DSACO hosts approximately 47 cooking classes a year and serves more than 560 participants annually. And they are always looking for volunteers.

"We are so proud of Kylee's Kitchen. It is an incredible experience for our teen and adults," DSACO executive director Sarah Soell told Southern Living, adding that her own daughter, Kerstin, participates when she is available. "The McFarlane Family has been so generous to us and to let us tell their daughter Kylee's story. Her legacy will continue to inspire others."

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