Meet Amina!

¡Hola! Mi nombre es Amina. Oh espera, lenguaje equivocado. Bonjour! Je m'appelle Amina. Ç'est la faux langue. Now that we have that situation settled, my name is Amina Shariff and I am a sophomore at Hutch Tech HS. I am currently majoring in Biochemistry and I have been working at MAP for one summer and decided to continue into the school-year program. Here’s a little bit about me!
First thing you need to know about me is that I am super indecisive, so I absolutely suck at making decisions. It has been a problem that has affected me my whole life. It is now hindering my decision to find out what I want to do with my life. Part of me wants to become a biochemical engineer and the other half wants to become a pediatrician. Two totally different fields of study. However, I know that whichever one I decide on, I’ll be happy succeeding in that field. Which is all that really matters!
Three words that describe me you ask? Well if you must know, ORGANIZED, CHEERFUL, AND DILIGENT. All traits that stay true to me. If you take a look inside one of my school binders, you’ll see post-it notes, dividers, and my very neat handwriting. Organizing my life like this honestly just makes me want to succeed, which is why I do it. I have become way more productive this way, which is how I stay on top of my school work. When I have my life organized, I just turn into an overall cheerful person and I tried to spread my bright attitude everywhere I venture to.

My favorite quote is by the one and only, the most wholesome man in the universe, the amazing artist that he is, Bob Ross. Can we get a round of applause?
“We don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents.”
-Bob Ross

There are very few mistakes in life that cannot be corrected if you try hard enough. Even a seemingly insurmountable problem can have a solution as long as you really take the time to solve it and not give up. This quote inspires me to not surrender when things get difficult and overall gives me a more positive outlook on life.
I am currently learning how to play the piano, I enjoy writing all kinds of stories and articles, and cooking. I haven’t been given many opportunities to cook at home which is why I think working at MAP will be great for me. I knew I had a passion for cooking ever since helping me mom in the kitchen and I hope to continue having that passion. Working at MAP will bring great opportunities for me and I am excited to be a part of a great organization, that helps fight for those in need.

Meet Kay!

My name is Kay Reh my nickname is boe Reh. I’m from Thailand and a village called Karenni camp. My house was very big and we have backyard which we grow tons of variety of foods and fruits we also grow pigs. Back in my country I love watching cars and plane go by as we only see them like 1 or 2 time a week or 2. I speak Karenni and I go to Karenni camp school in Elementary school for 2 yrs until we move here into the U.S.A. We live in New Jersey for 4years and spent our childhood growing up and going to school like any other kids in about 4grade my parent tell us we are moving to New York Buffalo and I was Kinda surprise and shock and little sad cause I live New Jersey and I don’t even know anyone in buffalo yet. When we got here the place was kinda quite. We live with our cousin for few weeks after that we found house to rent. For another 4 year all I do is go to school and come home sometime go shop with my parent. I don’t go outside much and don’t really have any friends until I reach high school. At 9th grade at Burgurd High school I meet some few friends and spent a normal life. We hang out after school but we really didn’t spent much time outside of school since we live so far away from each other. I also change school since I always come late to school and school was far. During summer I was offer a Job from urban league and that how I got to work at Map. I love working at Map it was a gate way for me into the future and also give me the experience to test out my skill.Thank you Map!!

I was also offer a Job during School year and I was very happy cause I love working there and I hope to learn many things throughout the years.

Meet Blet Say!

“Ciao bella! Mi chiamo Blet Say Wah. Ho quindici anni e frequento il liceo Hutch Tech. Lavoro a MAP da un mese.”
[Hello beautiful! My name is Blet Say Wah. I am 15 years old and I attend Hutch Tech High School. I work at MAP and have been working there for about a month.]
I am currently a sophomore in high school and is currently in the Engineering Major. I can speak two languages which include Karen and English. In school, I take the Italian language. As a person, I am introverted, creative, and very calm. Anything that has to do with the arts interests me.
“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”  ---- Ecclesiastes 1:2
My favorite quote is that everything is utterly meaningless. There are a lot of interpretations to that. However, I believe that this verse defines my life quite clearly! Everything is meaningless without a purpose, without a goal, or without knowing what you were here to do. I believe that happiness is something we all long for and also something that we actively try to pursue in our lives. It is possibly one of our main goals in life.
I am a deep thinker and also enjoy controversial topics because it gets my brain working. I love learning about new things that are happening in the real world, such as the food injustice that I learned over the Summer. In my free time, I enjoy playing the guitar, drawing, reading manga, crocheting, and knitting. I view myself as an optimistic person. I have a bright outlook on life and is very enthusiastic to see the future world that will await me.
I have a lot of vegetables that I like. My favorite ones include green beans and cucumber. My favorite fruit is rambutan. My favorite food is Nan gyi thohk, from the Burmese cuisine. However, I mostly enjoy eating more than I enjoy cooking.

Meet Nina!

Hello my name is Nina Adam, I’m sixteen years old junior at Mckinley high school. I’m taking a horticulture shop because I enjoy working in landscaping. My sister is one of my biggest role models, when she started working at Massachusetts Avenues Project was really amazing to see all the amazing things she was doing .I wanted to be a part of MAP. Joining Massachusetts avenue project in 2017 in the summer was a great experience. I learned more about working with plants which inspired me to take a horticulture class in school. Starting at MAP I was really uncomfortable with my public speaking, I hated talking to a group of audience, I had more opportunity to practice my public speaking to people. I was able to make a podcast on an issue I strongly believed in I had to step out of my comfort zone to do presentations. I learned about issue that I never expect to exist in this world, like global warming, GFPP, nutrition values and locally grown food etc. After four years working at MAP I had opportunity to lead a youth caucus and make a workshop with my fellows at the tomorrow’s leader conference. MAP has helped me grow as a youth activist.

Meet Day Yar!

My name is Day Yar Paw. I am 17 years old. I’m smart, ambitious and independent. I’m a junior in Mckinley High School. I was born in Thailand and moved to America in 2013. Living in Thailand was very difficult and there is not a lot of opportunities, especially when it comes to education and jobs. Moving into America was an amazing decision for my siblings and I. There’s so many opportunities in America, they have nice clothes for us to wear, good food and also meeting so many different people from different cultures. I started working at MAP in school year of 2018. Working at MAP helps improve my communication skills and slowly come out of my shell. I also learn different skills in cooking class with Bethany. All the staff members and workers are kind and friendly. After high school, I will be attending Cosmetology school so the money that I got from working at MAP, I will save some and spent some on the things that I need for Cosmetology. The important thing that I’m currently working on right now is to improve myself as a young woman, always have the positive mindset and moving forward with my life.   

Fish Tacos with Cabbage and Lime


1 Lb Tilapia Filets
(boneless, skinless, cut into 2-inch pieces)
2 TBSP Olive Oil
¼ CUP  Sour Cream
1 Lime (half finely zested and juiced,
half cut into wedges)
Hot Sauce, to taste
12 Corn Tortillas
1 Head Cabbage (red or green),
thinly sliced
1 CUP Cilantro, chopped
1 Onion, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste


1. Heat broiler, with rack in highest position. Pat fish dry with paper towels and gently coat with oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until fish is browned on top and flesh is opaque throughout, 5 minutes.

2. Combine sour cream, lime zest and juice, and a few dashes hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Toast corn tortillas over a kitchen burner using tongs or wrap in parchment-lined foil and heat in oven, 5 minutes. Divide fish evenly among tortillas and top with cabbage, cilantro, and onion. Serve with lime sour cream and lime wedges.


1. Cabbage replaces lettuce in this dish for a heartier filling.

2. Feel free to decrease the number of tortillas to make portions larger.

3. Try replacing sour cream with Mexican Cojita cheese for a more authentic feel.

Recipe adapted from: 

This recipe is brought to you by Massachusetts Avenue Project! Find MAP’s Mobile Market to purchase items on your ingredient list by visiting www.mass-ave.org or follow @massaveproject and #foodthatmoves on your favorite social media site.

Garlic Scape Pesto


12-15 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
⅔ cup toasted walnuts 
12 basil leaves
½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated 
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice, to taste 
½-1 teaspoon salt, to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper 
1 - 1 ½ cups olive oil, to taste


1. Place garlic scapes, toasted walnuts, basil leaves, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in blender or food processor. Pulse the ingredients a few times until they are roughly mixed.
2. Add Parmigiano Reggiano and pulse a few more times.
3. With food processor or blender running, slowly add olive oil.


1. To store, transfer pesto to a container and cover with a thin layer of olive oil. 

2. This pesto freezes well, so store in the freezer for long-term enjoyment! Freeze in jars or try making ice cubes that you can melt right into pasta and veggie dishes.

3. To make this pesto vegan friendly, simply leave out the cheese or replace with your favorite hard cheese substitute.

Recipe adapted from: 


This recipe is brought to you by Massachusetts Avenue Project! Find MAP’s Mobile Market to purchase items on your ingredient list by visiting www.mass-ave.org or follow @massaveproject and #foodthatmoves on your favorite social media site.

Apple and Cabbage Slaw


3 cups Cabbage (can be a mixture of green and red or however you like)
1.5 Gala Apples, sliced into thin strips
2 Carrots, grated
3 Green Onions
1 Cilantro (small handful)  
2  TBSP Olive Oil
2  TBSP Honey
2  TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
1  TSP Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Dash of Cayenne Pepper


1. Shred cabbage into fine strips.

2. Grate carrots using large holes on the grater.

3. Slice green onions and cilantro thinly and combine with cabbage and carrots.

4. Slice Gala apples into thin strips and add to slaw mix.

5. Combine all dressing ingredients and mix well with a fork.

6. Drizzle over slaw making sure to coat all ingredients well.

7. Serve chilled.


1. Great accompaniment to pork dishes.

2. You may make the slaw mix without the apples ahead of time, then add apples and dressing a few hours before serving to help with preparation time.

3. Not a big cabbage fan, no problem. Feel free substituting half of the cabbage with a hearty lettuce such as Romaine.

4. Dress the salad at least an hour ahead of time to allow flavors to meld.

5. Excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin A has been shown to important for eye health and immune function.

Recipe adapted from: 

This recipe is brought to you by Massachusetts Avenue Project! Find MAP’s Mobile Market to purchase items on your ingredient list by visiting www.mass-ave.org or follow @massaveproject and #foodthatmoves on your favorite social media site. 

Meet Sara!

Hello my name is Sara. I am a sophomore at City Honors. At City Honors, we have this thing called the IB program. It’s the International Baccalaureate program and it’s supposed to develop students, intellectual, emotional, personal, and social skills. It helps give college credit if I decide to take IB classes next year. A thing I’m working on is school is called a personal project; it’s an independent project that focuses on our personal interests and turns them into a school long project that we present at the end of the year (called IB night). I’m learning to skateboard, thanks to a MAP Youth Team Leader we had during the summer. He helped me buy the board and decide what was right for me. On another note, I’ve been working at MAP for a couple months now, since I’ve only done the summer program. My brother worked at MAP for almost 10 years and he’s one of the reasons I’m at MAP. He’s influenced me a lot, and always bragged about MAP and that made me want to experience the things he’s experienced here. He’s helped me get to know map more and help me know how other people feel about past experiences with MAP as well. I’ve wanted to work at MAP since I was 9 years old. I take French in school, and it’s one of the hardest courses I've taken in my 10 years of schooling. After high school, I'm hoping to travel to get experience and try a lot of new things, while filling my journey. I’m interested in the visual arts, and I’m hoping to do something in the future that goes along with that. I’m hoping I can stay with MAP, because it’s something that I enjoy doing and helping aid the organization.

Meet Joseph!

Joseph, pictured in red
Hola soy Joseph pero me llama Joe soy un hombre educado con mucho futuro por delante i respeto muchas personas estoy en mi último año pero no estoy asustado porque yo se que puedo lograrlo con el apoyo de mi mamá lo podemos hacer todo lo que los pongan en el camino. Estoy en MAP por 3 meses i mea encantado es fácil i todos son amigables es pero que yo pueda estar muchos años con ellos. La escuela que Voi es Mckinley high school i No es la mejor de mundo pero los maestros son excelentes para que tu aprendas estudiar. yo hablo dos lenguajes pero un poquito de lenguaje de mano. I esté es lo que tengo ahora mismo.

Joseph is Puerto Rican and Spanish is his first language. We encouraged him to write his first bio for MAP in Spanish. Below is our best English interpretation. Please let us know if you think we've missed something! This is a learning process we take pride in developing. 

Hi, I'm Joseph, but people call me Joe. I am an educated man with a great future ahead and I respect many people. I am in my last year [of school] but I am not scared because I know that I can do it. With my mother's blessing, we can do everything they put in our path. I have worked at MAP for 3 months and I am delighted. It is easy [work] and everyone is friendly. I could work with them for many years. The school I go to, McKinley High School, is not the best in the world but the teachers are excellent for you to learn from if you study. I speak two languages and a little sign language. This is what I have [going for me] right now.

Meet Amina!

Meet Amina! 

My name is Amina. I am 14 years old and you are reading all about me. I am now a sophomore at Hutch Tech High School, with a major in biochemistry. I don’t really know what I want to become for sure, but I have some ideas. Some part of me wants to become a biochemical engineer, but the other part wants me to become a mental health social worker. Both fields of study have been important to me for as long as I can remember. 

I was born in Colombus, Ohio, but I don’t remember much because shortly after we moved to Buffalo, where we started our family. You could describe me as organized, cheerful, and optimistic - all traits I have worked hard to receive. I speak English, Somali, and I’m in the process of learning Spanish. I like to cook and make my own food, but haven’t been given the opportunity at home. This is one of the reasons why I think working at MAP will be great for me. I knew I had a passion for cooking since helping my mom in the kitchen and I hope to continue having that passion. Working at MAP will only bring good opportunities for me and I am excited to be a part of an organization like this - where it is all about bringing healthy food to everyone. 

Youth Reflection on our Current Economy

A reflection from Blet Say

Our current economy is very inefficient and unjust. Because of our economy, which relies on capitalism, life is very hard for people to thrive in. There is so much that we really don’t know about our economy and possibly informing people about this crisis would help. The way we manage our home, at least in the United States is not very good. We rely on money and power. There is an unequal balance of the distribution of these two factors, and this causes problems for the people living in this world. We can shift this system by using the power of the people to make necessary changes. People, as a group, need to step up and cause a ripple effect, so that many more people will join the fight to shift our economy into a regenerative one. We use resources and only think about taking. Due to this, many problems occur. Today, we saw an example of what was happening, which was the “web of life.” There were so many strings being cut that it was really hard to get back to the position that we had started in. I learned that climate change was one of the problems that impacted us. Because of climate change, more natural disasters occur at a time when they aren’t supposed to. This adds to the economic problems. All of the money and power is being given to small groups of people. The government also ignores the people’s needs and use most of the funds on the military, which is a bit unnecessary. Because of this, people don’t have access to their basic needs. Not all of the people have healthcare, shelter, etc. In the United States, people are dying constantly due to lack of healthcare, and also much more frequently than in other countries. In conclusion, people are in danger, not only because of the system, but because of the effects it brings. I feel that the people’s needs are ultimately being ignored and that we can’t do anything about it unless we step up to change this system of economy. 

The truth shall set you free…

Learn to lead, we motivate

Character ultimately counts

Summer Lunch Finale + Tembleque!

For our last Friday Lunch of the summer, the teens chose some of their favorite dishes that we made over the course of the summer and created a special "highlight reel" menu. Check it out:

Sour Cherry Mint Lemonade
Korean Tofu Tacos w/ Quick Kimchi
Flatbread w/ Watermelon Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella and Nasturtium
Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
Kusa Squash w/ Eggplant and Rice Stuffing

It seems fitting for our last Friday Lunch post of the summer to share a dessert recipe. Tembleque was certainly the staff pick for favorite dessert of the summer. Tembleque means "wiggly" in Spanish. It is simple, refreshing coconut-based dessert reminiscent of the Burmese Kyauk Kyaw dessert we made last summer. Try it out!

Serves: 4-6

  • 2 (13.5 oz) cans Coconut Milk
  • 6 cup sugar
  • 4 cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Ground cinnamon (for garnish)
  • Shredded coconut (for garnish)
  1. In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt, stirring to dissolve cornstarch. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into six 4-oz. molds, or one 3-cup mold. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least 3 hours, or up to 48 hours.
  3. To unmold, run thin knife around edge. Invert mold (or molds) onto serving plate. Top with toasted coconut, if desired. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
If you can't wait for it to cool to dig in, try eating it as a warm pudding! Some of our teens even preferred it this way!

Quick Yeast Bread


5 CUPS all-purpose white flour
2 TBSP yeast (or 2 x 7g pkts)
2 TSP sugar
1 TSP salt
2 CUPS warm-hot water
1⁄4 CUP cooking oil


Put 4 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into large bowl.

Pour in hot water and oil and mix until combined- it will be sticky.

Add the remaining flour in increments until dough is no longer sticky.

Knead for about 5 minutes until dough is elastic and smooth.

Place dough back into bowl and cover with a damp teatowel and let it rise until double its size- about 1/2 hour.

Punch it down and divide dough into two pieces.

Roll pieces long enough to fill two well oiled loaf pans and leave to rise until dough has reached the rim of the pan.

Bake at 400F for 40 minutes.

Rub hot breads with water and wrap in a teatowel to 'sweat' or soften the crust.


1. Perfect, quick recipe that does not require a starter. 

Recipe adapted from: 


This recipe is brought to you by Massachusetts Avenue Project! Find MAP’s Mobile Market to purchase items on your ingredient list by visiting www.mass-ave.org or follow @massaveproject and #foodthatmoves on your favorite social media site.

Jalapeno Guacamole


2 Avocados (large ripe, pitted and scooped from skin)
2 TBSP Onion, minced
1 TBSP Cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup Jalapeño Peppers, diced
Fresh lime juice (squeeze of 1, to taste)
Salt and Pepper, to taste


1. Mash the avocado in a mixing bowl. 
2. Mix in the next 5 ingredients.
3. Serve with chips and enjoy!


Makes a great appetizer!

This recipe is brought to you by Massachusetts Avenue Project! Find MAP’s Mobile Market to purchase items on your ingredient list by visiting www.mass-ave.org or follow @massaveproject and #foodthatmoves on your favorite social media site.

Mexican Chicken Alfredo Pasta

For our Week 5 Friday Lunch, our theme was Fusion Food! This menu highlights dishes that blend cuisine from different cultures.
  • Cherry Mint Lemonade (American and Moroccan)
  • Cumber Green Bean Miso Salad (Chinese and Japanese)
  • Korean Tofu Tacos w/ Kimchi (Korean and Mexican)
  • Mexican Alfredo Pasta (Mexican and Italian)
  • Korean Popcorn Cauliflower (Korean and American)
  • Japanese Crepes (Japanese and French)
Although the recipe we're showcasing this week isn't in our typical plant-based style, it was so easy and the teens enjoyed it so much, that we have to share!

Mexican Chicken Alfredo Pasta
Serves 8

  • 1 package (16 ounces) gemelli or spiral pasta
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 jars (15 ounces each) Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup medium salsa
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken, onion, salt and pepper in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in Alfredo sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in cheese, corn, beans, salsa, milk and taco seasoning.
  4. Toss pasta with chicken mixture. Divide between greased baking dishes. Cover and bake until bubbly, 30-35 minutes. 

Thai White Eggplant Stir Fry


3  White Eggplant, sliced into rounds 
½  Onion, thinly sliced 
2 TBSP Canola Oil
1 TBSP Cilantro, chopped
2 TBSP Red or Green Thai Curry Paste
Salt and Pepper, to taste


1. Trim the stem edge and cut the eggplant into round circle and saute them in 1 Tbsp of oil until soft. Keep them aside.

2. Take the same nonstick pan that you have sauteed eggplants before, add 1 tsp oil to it. Once the oil is hot, add thinly sliced onions to it, saute until onions become translucent.

3. Now add the sauteed eggplant rounds to the pan. Once the eggplant slices are mixed with onions, add some salt to it and leave it on medium flame for 5 min.

4. Now add the curry paste to the pan and mix it well gently, and stir fry for another 5 min until the everything is well combined and cooked.


1. This is a quick, exciting dish to put together. Great after a long day at work. 
2. You may add this curry paste to another of your favorite stir fry sauces to intensify its heat.

3. Any eggplant variety can be substituted, just make sure to cut into small 2” pieces to keep the cooking time the same. Pieces without skin make cook faster or lose their shape a bit but the flavor will remain delicious.

Recipe adapted from: 

This recipe is brought to you by Massachusetts Avenue Project! Find MAP’s Mobile Market to purchase items on your ingredient list by visiting www.mass-ave.org or follow @massaveproject and #foodthatmoves on your favorite social media site.