The Brain Kitchen, Marion, Ind.

The Brain Kitchen is an independent nonprofit after-school program and the brainchild of Amanda Drury, who teaches youth ministry and practical theology at Indiana Wesleyan University. Guided by themes of abundance, radical welcome and acceptance, The Brain Kitchen fosters resilience and cultivates wonder among the children of Marion, Ind., through cooking, exercising and completing their homework. The Brain Kitchen is a trauma-informed space, where careful attention is spent on basic programming and volunteer training as well as the physical space where activities take place.

On Friday afternoons, The Brain Kitchen children gather in a circle and offer a simple word of thanks to God as they break off pieces of bread from a common loaf they made earlier that day. At the end of this “bread ceremony,” children are sent home with enough food to feed a family of six — food the children have made themselves. In addition to soup, they leave with two loaves of bread — one to eat and one to give away.

How does The Brain Kitchen exemplify traditioned innovation?
The Brain Kitchen goes beyond excellent traditional childcare in offering holistic hospitality, food and welcome in addition to brain-altering practices that will ultimately increase resilience among some of Marion’s more vulnerable residents.

For more information about the Traditioned Innovation Award, please contact us at

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