There are over 200 alumni of our Youth Development Program working, learning and leading in New Orleans and beyond. Graduates leave Liberty’s Kitchen with a range of technical and transferable skills that they can bring to any workplace–whether in culinary and hospitality or elsewhere. More than that, they join a network of graduates and stay connected to our community through our Youth Leadership Program, which is open to all graduates, with no expiration date.
Tevin overcame crushing poverty, displacement during Katrina, and violence to complete our Youth Development Program in 2011. After graduating, he worked as a line cook in some of New Orleans’ best restaurants for six years, then decided to pursue a lifelong dream of learning graphic design and fine arts. His years in kitchens sharpened his discipline and professional skills and gave him the foundation he needed to build his own pathway. Tevin earned our Youth Achievement Award in 2015 and continues to inspire our community with his creativity and ambition.
Andryan told us she joined Liberty’s Kitchen because “she was sick of having no job and no future.” Applying herself, she graduated from our Youth Development Program in 2015. She worked at Whole Foods Market for two years as a cashier, then brought her talents back to LK. She’s a two-term Youth Leadership Council Member and our Community Liaison to the Healthy Corner Store Collaborative, working directly with corner store owners to help them make fruit and veggies their best-selling items. Andryan’s efforts have helped small-business owners earn nearly $30,000 in revenue, all while making it easier for people to access healthy food in their own neighborhood.
The Youth Leadership Program (YLP) at Liberty’s Kitchen provides the organization’s alumni with over 9 months of continued support and opportunities for leadership development. All YDP alumni are eligible to participate in field trips, workshops, and individual supports aimed increasing job retention, expanding career exposure, and building social capital.
Our Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is a select group of alumni leading the cutting edge of our work in career advancement, food access, and entrepreneurship. Through the YLC, we aim to build a more youth-centric organization, create positive opportunities for alumni and participants, and change the narratives surrounding young people in New Orleans. In its first two years, our YLC organized a youth-led mayoral candidate forum, visited Washington DC to learn about advocacy, implemented a community-driven food project, and hosted a series of social events for our trainees and alumni.