Students from P.S. 188 on the Lower East Side are learning about their own community, while expanding their pallets.
It's thanks to Matt James, a guide with ABC Food Tours.
Once a month, he takes a different group of students to visit restaurants all over the neighborhood.
It’s called the “Young Explorers Food Tour”.
"An opportunity to give back and marry the relationship between my love with food and my love with kids. It just made sense," James said.
These students have a special appreciation for the experience.
Half of the children who attend P.S 188 are homeless. Nearly 70 percent live below the poverty line.
An upbringing that James can relate to.
"My mom was a single parent working all the time. Now I am in the position to include these kids on an experience that I love and is near to me," James said.
The dozen local restaurant owners who partner with James and ABC Food Tours can relate to the children, too.
Many of them are immigrants, or lack a college education, or grew up in or near the neighborhood.
"Giving them something to aspire to, maybe not something in the culinary world but just in terms of starting something and completing it," James said.
Each stop provides an opportunity for students to ask questions and learn about the restaurant business.
And a chance to sample some dishes that they may not otherwise get an opportunity to try, like lobster rolls or jerk chicken.
"It is nice to get them out of their comfort zone," James said.
James believes it boosts their confidence too.
He hopes being treated just like any other patron and having a positive role model can motivate these students.
"It is going to give them something to aspire to aside to what they may be seeing at home, or what they are seeing on TV or what they are seeing in their community," James said.
And so for giving kids in need a taste of life beyond their comfort zones Matt James is our New Yorker of the Week.