Submitted by Michael Mygind, Director of Marketing for WestCare California/Nevada and written by Matthew Farmer on behalf of Kitchens for Good, a longtime community partner of WestCare California’s CCTRP (Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program) site in San Diego!
Everyone makes mistakes – it’s human nature. But what happens when a mistake has dire life-changing consequences? “Eight years ago, I made a terrible mistake that ultimately led to my incarceration.” Now on parole, Jen came to the stark realization, “Being [justice impacted] makes it harder to get a job.” This is especially challenging to Jen as she has always been an enterprising young woman, gaining certifications to work in many areas, including as a dental hygienist and a dog trainer.
When she learned about Kitchens for Good, Jen hadn’t considered cooking as a career, but she was adamant about creating a better future for herself. The Culinary Apprenticeship program provided a way for her to do that. With its skills training and relationships with Employer Partners throughout San Diego, Jen wouldn’t be hamstrung by background checks and judgement, and would be able to pursue a sustainable career in the hospitality industry. “I knew I needed to go out on a limb to get this training, because otherwise, I had no idea how I was going to secure employment given my status.” Since joining the Kitchens for Good program, Jen has not only gotten her confidence back, but also discovered a passion for cooking. “I see myself being in this industry for a very long time. Thank you so much, Kitchens for Good.”