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Food for Thought kitchen tour feeds teen pregnancy prevention program
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Board members of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Inc. enticed some Gainesville residents to get off the couch and come into the kitchen Sunday afternoon as part of the agency’s Food for Thought kitchen tour fundraiser.

In its third year, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Inc. kitchen tour led program patrons through the kitchens of five different homes — two in the Riverside area and three in the Chattahoochee Country Club area.

Proceeds from the kitchen tour will support the organization’s abstinence-based prevention programs in Gainesville and Hall County public schools as well as Lakeview Academy, said Barbara Hicks, executive director of Teen Pregnancy Prevention Inc.

The one-day event featured homes with stellar culinary equipment matched by sleek design and functionality. Live music wafted through the high ceilings of the homes as pianists and guitarists entertained eaters.

Right at home in exquisite marble counter kitchens, chefs from Rudolph’s, 2 Dog Cafe and Empty Plate BBQ served up their specials to supporters who paid $30 for a ticket to the event.

"We met or exceeded our goal of $5,000," Hicks said. "Our homes were beyond beautiful and our chefs outdid themselves, and our musicians were exceedingly talented."

Upon the sudden cancellation of one chef, Hicks’ 15-year-old son stepped up to the plate and made chocolate chip cookies.

An avid cook, Ben Hicks was quick to say the kitchen he was cooking in Sunday would be any chef’s dream.

"It’s big. It’s got double convection ovens, a six-burner stove, multiple sinks, a big fridge," he said. "It’s awesome."

Ben also said that he liked how the Riverside area kitchen had a marble table attached to the island in the kitchen, allowing the chef to converse with the dinner party while still cooking.

The mother of the young chef said that he has been throwing spices into boiling pots of water since he was about 4 years old.

Hicks said she expected about 200 people to tromp through the five kitchens tasting barbecue, crepes and cookies.

Gus Gonzalez, owner of Cafe ‘N Crepes with his wife Yohanna Gonzalez, cooked 200 dinner and dessert crepes in one of the featured kitchens.

He said he participated in the charity event because he wants his business to be part of community.

"We thought it was for a good cause," he said.

The Georgia Department of Human Resources reports that teen birth rates have declined in the past 10 years for non-Hispanic whites and blacks.

But the department also said both the number and rate of teen births have increased for Hispanics, and adds that exact amounts are unknown due to a lack of data on the growth of the population.

The 2006 report also stated that 80 percent of pregnant teens who gave birth in 2004 were unmarried, as compared to 51 percent of pregnant and unmarried teens who gave birth during the 1980s.

In addition, the report found that more than 25 percent of all pregnancies among teens ages 15 to 19 years old were repetitive pregnancies.

Hicks said that Teen Pregnancy Prevention Inc. uses programs like Kids on the Block to initiate conversation in middle schools about choices and values involved in sex through puppets.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Inc. has another program called SmartGirls that is an abstinence-based education group.

Hicks said that the agency’s Pregnant and Parenting Support and Education program is a popular program that encourages already pregnant teens and parenting teens to attend weekly discussions for support.

Although Teen Pregnancy Prevention Inc. aims to teach teens about the value of abstinence, members also aim to provide a positive influence in the community for pregnant teens.

"We encourage them to be good moms and to stay in school," Hicks said.