UNITED STATES: New Culinary Arts Program Gives Youth Job Training Skills
(MissionNewswire) Working in more than 132 countries around the globe, the Salesians have created a vast network of primary, secondary, vocational and technical schools serving poor youth. With a focus on education and workforce development, the Salesians provide disadvantaged youth an education and valuable resources to help them find livable wage employment. The goal being to break the cycle of poverty and help youth lead meaningful and productive lives.
Right here in the United States, the Don Bosco Community Center in Port Chester, New York, has started Café Alma, a culinary arts job training program for local teens. This new program kicked off in October with a pre-launch event hosted by Chef Rafael Palomino of Bistro Latino in Greenwich and Sonora Restaurant in Port Chester. Chef Palomino is heading up the training programs which target youth 14 to 19 years old and offer classes ranging from basic knife skills to a full culinary arts training program. The training program’s 10-class curriculum is limited to 12 students per session in order to keep the student-to-chef ratio low, allowing for more focused one-on-one attention.
“We have begun classes with our first group of local teens and we are pleased to have them here tonight to help with this fantastic event,” said Father Richard Alejunas, executive director of the Don Bosco Community Center, in a recent press release about the inaugural event for the program.
As with many Salesian technical and vocational training programs, the work goes far beyond the classroom. In order for students to truly experience the benefits of the skills they acquire, the program has built partnerships with local chefs within the community. These chefs will provide their expertise during the training and will be among those hiring graduates after their successful completion of the program.
“We began this effort in 2010 to provide meaningful job training to our youth in the Port Chester community,” explains Ann Heekin, event chair for the program, in the same launch press release. “Through the generosity of the local community, we have a solid culinary curriculum in place and a waiting list of students for the program.”
The new culinary arts program is just one of many services offered at the Don Bosco Community Center, which has been providing for the local population for over eighty years. Other services include a soup kitchen and food pantry, educational programming for youth and adults and help for new immigrants and Port Chester’s long-time residents who have lived near or in poverty for years. The Community Center’s services are open to all, including adult men and women, parents in need, the elderly, the unemployed, the working poor, immigrant and day laborers and the homeless.
“Our primary goal of all our programs is to facilitate integration, increase self-sufficiency and to decrease community tension while promoting the healthy development of youth, families and immigrants in Port Chester,” adds Fr. Alejunas.
Don Bosco Community Center Port Chester, NY – Website