Ally Kustera enjoys taking a leadership role. The J. Taylor Finley Middle School seventh grader was a featured speaker at the Food Allergy Research and Education’s Teen Summit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Ms. Kustera was asked to speak about her food allergies as they related to being on a cooking competition show earlier in the year. She appeared in the second season of the Food Network’s Chopped Junior show last May.
A member of Finley’s soccer team, Ms. Kustera also sings, acts and plays trumpet. The teenager has been cooking and baking since she was four years old. She is allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts except almonds.
Finley seventh grader Ally Kustera.
Ms. Kustera has been advocating for kids with food allergies for several years. A few years ago she addressed the Huntington School Board regarding additional safeguards for students afflicted with food allergies.
The 13 year old has raised monies for FARE’s educational initiatives through bake sales and she spearheaded the Teal Pumpkin Project at Woodhull Intermediate School as a fifth grader. The national program sponsored by FARE “helps make sure all children will come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy,” the organization’s website states. “It just takes one simple act: offering non-food treats, such as glow sticks or small toys, as an alternative to candy.”
At Woodhull, Ms. Kustera was successful in getting students to make posters and advertise the Teal Pumpkin Project’s goals for kids with food allergies.
Ms. Kustera has appeared in local theater productions and school shows, including the role of the Cat in Seussical, Little Red in Into the Woods and most recently as Nala in the Lion King Junior. The Finley student loves movies and is a walking encyclopedia of all things Broadway, in particular Hamilton trivia.
“Ally is a fine student who loves school and other activities,” Finley Principal John Amato said. “She is an enthusiastic and energetic person. She is a leader among her peers and they regard her as such.”
FARE’s 11th annual Teen Summit was held over three days at the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee. The organization works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including those at risk for life-threatening anaphylaxis. This potentially deadly disease affects one in 13 children in the United States – or roughly two in every classroom.