On Friday, December 15, six young people from the foster care system took a big step on the road to adulthood and self-sufficiency.
For Siarra, Shaqueia, Selina, Roberto, Ja’Niah and Jakiya, the newest graduates of the Workforce Readiness program, a world of internships, further schooling, and jobs await. These young adults spent the last ten weeks learning culinary skills, interviewing techniques, professional dress and employment skills, blended together with a good helping of community service.
Activities such as field trips to the Golden Corral test kitchen and the Renaissance Hotel in North Hills combined with hands-on kitchen work and even gardening experience at the Food Shuttle’s Camden Street Learning Garden. Ja’Niah observed “I was told the class would be cooking in the kitchen, but it was so much more than that!”
This was fourth graduation for the Workforce Readiness program of Fostering Wellness—a collaboration of six nonprofits headed up by the Food Shuttle. Like all of the graduates, their ‘final exam’ consisted of the banquet served to friends, family, well-wishers and Food Shuttle staff. The crowd agreed they all earned an A+.
The students were honored to host several special supporters — Rev Hicks of Revelation Baptist Church, NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, and State Senator Tamara Barringer. Senator Barringer declared “I am here with my heart and soul as a foster parent—I adopted my three children from the foster care system.” Secretary Marshall noted that “this is an incredible program giving young people direction and meaning to their lives. I know we at the Secretary of State’s office are doing our jobs right when I see a successful nonprofit collaboration like this one.”
Chef Kitty described how the students “embraced the program, came together as a team, and now are willing and eager for the next challenge.” For Roberto the next challenge is an employment opportunity at CenterPlate, in which Itisha will continue to work with him to ensure that he is able to maintain employment. Jakiya will intern at the Food Shuttle. Other graduates have their eyes on Wake Tech and hope someday to work on behalf of at-risk youth, bringing their own life experiences to benefit others.
These young people are so inspiring with their openness and willingness to learn and grow. We know they will all do wonderful things!