Student Spotlight: Nick


Nick is a 23-year old trainee in our Youth Development Program. Having started in February, Nick is almost at the finish line of graduation! We caught up with Nick to hear about his reflection on the program thus far and his externship at Villalobos Rescue Center, a rescue, rehabilitation and placement facility for abused and abandoned pit bulls.

Can you describe your experience at Liberty’s Kitchen so far?

It’s a long process. You get what you put in. Like if you show the effort to try to move ahead they’ll give you every opportunity they can and try to help you.

What part of the program has been your favorite so far?

Orientation – that’s where I got to know my classmates and find out more about the program and get a sense of get the silliness out now because it’s going to get serious – I mean I never got rid of all of it but you know. *laughs*

Where are you externing now?

Villalobos Rescue Center in the 9th Ward. It’s an animal shelter, mostly pitbulls there, that’s their specialty, but they take in other dogs.They find stray dogs; some people don’t want their dogs so they call them to pick them up, they’ll have a person just reporting a dog in the area, they’ll go see about it and maybe take them in.

How did you get to Villalobos?
I wanted to work with creatures other than humans, because I get along with animals more than I do people. I can get along with people but dogs don’t give you conflict. They’ll play around a little bit but they’re easy to get along with. They’re really man’s best friend.

Have you had pets before?
I had a python named Python, I had a dog – Australian shepherd with Labrador mix. Katrina took my snake. When I moved from Texas I didn’t have a place to stay so I didn’t want to have my dog out there struggling with me so I gave him to somebody to take care of.

What do you do at your externship?
I walk dogs, feed dogs, I’m in charge of 27 dogs. I clean the kennels, and do spot mopping… I just spend time with them. I’m there 4 days a week, sometimes 5. I’ve been there for two weeks, this is my third.

What have you learned from externing there?
Perseverance, because I live a little far from it and sometimes I don’t have the funds to get there but I find a way to make it there.

What’s your favorite thing you learned to make in the program?
Spaghetti, because I can make it from scratch now.

Nick at Alon Shaya's spaghetti demonstration!

Nick at Alon Shaya’s spaghetti demonstration!

Anything else you want to say?

If you make a decision to join this program make sure that you plan to stick through it to the end because the benefits are amazing. Not only do they help find you a job, they work with you so that you might be able to keep that job and even level up in the business to where you are the person that’s hiring people.

We’re so excited to see Nick graduate and continue working with animals! If you appreciated his story, consider donating to help young people like him pursue their dreams!


–Posted by Nadia Laher, Development Coordinator

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