News From the Kitchen
This past Wednesday, our Youth Development Program offered a career event that included a job fair and an exclusive Skills Share Round Table. Representatives from ShiftGig, MoPho, Pagoda Cafe, Creole Cuisine, Ruby Slipper, and City Greens came to the job fair ready to hire. Susan Spicer, owner of Bayona, Mondo, and Rosedale and longtime partner of Liberty’s Kitchen, also joined the event.
During our first ever Skills Share Round Table, Liberty’s Kitchen youth had the opportunity to hear from professionals in an intimate discussion setting. Employers discussed the importance of accountability, punctuality, and attendance for achieving workplace success, all of which are heavily stressed in our Youth Development Program. They also talked about the organizational culture and company values within their respective organizations.
The event was open to both alumni and current program participants and brought in a total of 17 young adults. Onsite childcare was provided during the event for parents who are seeking employment opportunities. Liberty’s Kitchen stresses equity and access to provide all young adults with the opportunity for success.
A huge thanks to all of the employment partners who attended the event including Donnie Middleton and William Owens from ShiftGig, Jeff Gulotta from MoPho, Shana Sassoon from Pagoda Cafe, Steve Lowry and Thomas Burns from Creole Cuisine, Becky Leone and Ethan Gardam from Ruby Slipper, Abhi Bansali and Justin Faulkner from City Greens, Susan Spicer, owner of Bayona, Mondo, and Rosedale and also to Kayla Paul Wiggins, Devon Turner (Youth Leadership Program Coordinator), and Dix Marie deLaneuville (Career Development Manager) for their assistance with childcare service.
Our next job fair and Skills Share round table will be held on Wednesday, April 19th.
If you are an employer interested in attending future job fairs and/or Skills Share roundtables, please contact our Career Development Manager, Dix Marie deLaneuville (Ms. D) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Posted by Rhea Lewis (Development Intern)
Lots of big happenings this month in our Youth Leadership Program!
Congratulations to August 2016 graduates Da’Mon (Tumma) Keelen, Noel (Know) Jackson, and Diana (DiDi) Otowoshe, who joined the ranks of college students! Tumma and Know are pursuing degrees in general studies at Delgado Community College; DiDi is pursuing a degree in mass communication at UNO. We are so proud and can’t wait to see what’s next!
Bourbon House = Team LK
On October 17th, Chefs Devan Giddix and Rene Bajeux hosted a group of LK graduates at Bourbon House, of the Dickie Brennan family of restaurants. Attendees gained insight into the path to become a chef as well as creating a sustainable work-life balance, toured their fabulous kitchen and event spaces, learned to efficiently shuck oysters, and of course sampled delicious items off the menu. Thanks to Bourbon House for such an exceptional experience!
On the Horizon: Health and Wellness
Starting Tuesday, November 1st, LK grads will have an opportunity to work out their bodies along with their minds in a newly formed running group. Look for us jogging the Lafitte Greenway every Tuesday morning, weather permitting!
We are thrilled to be rolling out an additional eight months of “next level” support and programming for YDP graduates! We sat down with stellar Youth Leadership Program Coordinator Devon Turner to learn about what’s ahead.
Tell us about YLP.
The Youth Leadership Program is an 8-month extension to the training program. It’s all about building upon previous personal successes to cultivate their leadership potential and address issues within their families, communities, and city.
What does that look like day to day?
A lot of this is brand new, so we’ve been building out a structure for the YLP and developing new programming. I’m working with two great interns – Wil Cousin and Raynard Janeau – who came to us through the Kellogg Foundation’s Young Men’s Voices (have) Power initiative. Together, we’ve focused on building an alumni community in general and a strong Youth Leadership Council specifically.
Day to day, we’re creating a community of graduates across time and place. We have six key areas of engagement: leadership and civic engagement, education, career development, advanced hospitality exposure, health and well-being, and social engagement. Every month we want to offer at least one activity in each of those areas and have a monthly check in and goal planning session to which all graduates are invited.
What are some events you’ve had?
Our Youth Leadership Council held its first meeting in March 2016, and programming started in May with a career development workshop. We’ve had additional career development workshops, a demonstration with Chef Renee at Palace Café, another with Chef Chris Okorie, goal planning sessions, give back opportunities, and opportunities for alumni to engage trainees. In April, alumni participated in the Raise the Age campaign, which was part of the juvenile justice reform movement. Youth Leadership Council members also participated in a leadership training offered by Harvard School of Government students and met with Councilmember Latoya Cantrell.
Tell us about the Youth Leadership Council.
The YLC is a group of very dedicated grads who are creating and developing alumni programming, recruiting new participants, and taking on leadership projects. The Council is intended to redefine existing narratives of young people in this city. Narratives about young people who work hard, who have a different vision for what the city can look like, who are tired of crime and miseducation and violence and substandard housing and urban blight – those stories are treated as celebrated exceptions. However, our participants demonstrate that those stories are far from the exception. They can speak very well about what this city could look like. My role is that of a facilitator and advisor.
Let’s talk future. What is the ultimate vision for YLP (one year from now)?
I’d love to see graduates who have really embraced a leadership role in their communities, who are really active in trying to address the social issues that affect them the most. In a beautiful world, they would be addressing those larger issues so they’re not just trying to survive from day to day, but tackling the issues that produce that kind of day to day living.
What does leadership mean to you?
To be a leader is to be someone who understands the day-to-day struggle and can transform that understanding into a call to action. As it pertains to YLP, we’re really helping graduates understand their strengths and their leadership potential, helping them to understand that being a leader is not something that’s dependent upon having “X” amount of dollars in your account or having achieved a certain level of formal education. We all can and should be leaders.