The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Raw Food Delivery Business Shows Mentally Disabled Students 'Good Food'

By Benjamin Woodard | November 6, 2013 7:26am
 Rima Juskys' developmentally disabled students help prepare food for Green Spirit's customers once a week.
Green Spirit
View Full Caption

ROGERS PARK — Like a lot of 10-year-old boys, Geovani Guevara's favorite food is pepperoni pizza, he admitted.

But Guevara, a mentally disabled student from UNO Charter Schools' Rogers Park campus, is trying new foods.

Once a week, he and his peers travel to the kitchen at Green Spirit, a vegetarian, raw food delivery service at 7551 N. Ridge Blvd., to help out — picking parsley, sorting kale leaves and washing dishes.

"We're very happy to be here," said instructor Rima Juskys, who spends at least 10 hours a week taking her students to somewhere outside of a classroom, such as a museum or neighborhood restaurant. "It's an incredible learning experience for us."

She says the four students in her class, who all have developmental disabilities, benefit from the "community-based instruction."

"Not only are we building vocational skills — we're also building life skills," she said.

Juskys said she partnered with Green Spirit's owner, Linda Szarkowski, this year.

On Monday, Geovani picked parsley leaves from a stem while 13-year-old Leke Harris — who said that although his favorite food is fried chicken, he still enjoyed Green Spirit's kale veggie burger — dried kale leaves in a bucket by the sink.

"You're supposed to get the water off," he said.

At the same time, employee Brandon Byxbe, 31, spread batter on cooking sheets for what he said will be quiche pies. The food is sold online and to weekly subscribers who pay $90 for a bin of goods delivered to their doorstep each week.

"It's fun to get six other people in the kitchen," he said. "It's good for them to see what good food looks like."