Single Father Shares His Appreciation for Common Threads

By Common Threads | March 20, 2018

Dewdney Liburd, a recent participant in one of Common Threads’ Family Cooking Classes in New York, recently wrote to Common Threads to share how our cooking and nutrition education program changed his life and made it easier to cook for his family as a single father.

Greetings to the reader and hopefully future student of Chef Susi:

My name is Dewdney Liburd, and I am a single father of three children. I am also a disabled veteran of the United States Marine Corps with back injuries and other debilitating issues to the body. As a married man, I got used to not having to cook or do some of the other things involved in raising my children. In the past three years since my divorce, taking responsibility for all these things has been quite the challenge. So a few months ago when I was invited to attend Chef Dawn Susi’s class with my young daughter, I was excited to attend. I thought to myself that I might learn a new recipe or two if I was lucky.

The class was held at Hannah’s school, Leonard Dunkley Elementary School. There we learned about the right way to use some common kitchen utensils, as well as how to prepare an extremely delicious chicken breast. The second week of this two-week class, we learned how to make fish tacos. Let me take this opportunity to say that these meals were awesome and they have already been duplicated at home a few times since then.

A month later when the opportunity arose, I sprinted at the chance to attend the class a second round. The focus of these classes were breakfast items. We learned how to make breakfast tacos, breakfast bars, and mini frittatas; all things I never even thought about before. I have been using these recipes as well, and believe me, Dad has become “next level special” in the kitchen. The kids went from wanting to eat at school for breakfast to eagerly wanting to see what I make for breakfast because they prefer to eat at home.

Last week I made the Antipasto Salad and I ended up substituting the black pepper with crushed red peppers instead. It’s my personal preference not to use black pepper. The point is, this meal was such a hit that the kids asked me to cook the same thing three times since. I haven’t done so, but I felt great knowing they enjoyed my cooking that much.

Which brings me to the main point of this note. I needed to say a special thank you to Chef Susi for changing my family’s life. Not only have we changed our eating habits to much healthier meals, but cooking with them has become an enjoyable moment. Yes, cooking has brought this US Marine closer to his children, and I love every moment of it. So once again, thank you for changing our lives, and I wish you nothing but success in your future changing lives one class at a time!

The Liburd Family

Family at PS 16, New York

Common Threads was founded in Chicago in 2003 by CEO Linda Novick O’Keefe, celebrity chef Art Smith and his husband, artist Jesus Salgueiro, as a way to bring under-resourced children together, help them celebrate different cultures and teach them about healthy nutrition. From its humble beginnings in a church basement, Common Threads now services children and families in 12 markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Pittsburgh, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, El Paso and Erie. For more information, visit or search #CookingForLife on social media.

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