The very last Fostering Wellness Workforce Readiness class graduated on Friday, August 17th, culminating a program that has shepherded seven classes of foster youth into the workforce with newfound culinary and life skills.
The most recent class of nine students – Destini, Lamont, Zee, James, Mia, Kennedi, Alexis, Meisha, and Zykeydric – all learned basic culinary skills in addition to life skills such as resume writing and workforce preparedness.
“They are going to take something away much bigger than how to cut a whole chicken or create a rue,” said Rashidah Myrie, Fostering Wellness Programs Manager. “They create a sense of community together. They learned how to work together to get something accomplished. These are skills that they will take forward with them in life.”
For their final coursework, the students worked together to prepare a meal including barbecue chicken, jambalaya, green beans, cheese broccoli, and mac and cheese for close to 40 people. Some of the students will to continue in the culinary field, with one already landing a job at Barry’s Café, but all came away with skills that can use in their home kitchen.
“It tears me up seeing us going our separate ways,” said James, one of the Fostering Wellness graduates. “It means a lot to me to have gotten to know everyone and been able to grow and experience things together. Thank you everyone to make this program possible and making it something we can all enjoy.”
The Fostering Wellness Workforce Readiness Program is a 10-week program focusing on culinary training, employment skills, and leadership opportunities for young people with a history of foster care in Durham, Orange, and Wake counties. The program is the result of a partnership between Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, The Hope Center at Pullen, Life Skills Foundation, SaySo, Dress for Success and United Way of the Greater Triangle, and funded in part by GlaxoSmithKline.
“One thing I’ve truly seen in Fostering Wellness is building relationships,” said Pushti Patel, Director of Community Health Education. “This is a bittersweet moment as it’s our last graduating class. We are going to continue supporting young people at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle through our culinary apprenticeship program. Our goal is to have three apprentices at any given time and provide them with hands-on training for a set period of time. Rashidah will help them with individual career coaching and job placement. Our work here will not end!”
More to come on our Culinary Apprenticeship program that will be in conjunction with our newly launched Horizon Catering!