NewsNonprofit Teaches Formerly Incarcerated Youth Culinary Arts

Nonprofit Teaches Formerly Incarcerated Youth Culinary Arts

Drive Change, a nonprofit organization, is making substantial strides in the lives of formerly incarcerated young adults through its innovative programs.

In the bustling heart of New York City, Drive Change, a nonprofit organization, is making substantial strides in the lives of formerly incarcerated young adults through its innovative programs, according to NBC News. Offering a unique four-month paid fellowship, Drive Change weaves together culinary arts training, leadership development, mental health support, and youth-led advocacy to prepare participants for meaningful employment.

The organization’s holistic approach extends beyond culinary training. Drive Change operates Culinary Access and Relief Events, a commendable initiative employing formerly incarcerated young adults to provide culturally respectful and nutritious food to local community members. This offers practical work experience and fosters a sense of purpose and community engagement, according to Drive Change.

Khalila Moon, the executive director of Drive Change, emphasizes the organization’s belief that “food is a right, and everyone should have access to great food.” In addressing systemic issues, Moon highlights the importance of understanding the individuals behind the statistics. “That’s an individual there, it’s very important that people understand, there’s human beings behind this,” Moon asserts to NBC News.

The recent renovation project undertaken by Drive Change underscores its commitment to creating a modern and supportive environment for the youth under its wing. The renovated space aims to facilitate guidance and mentorship from experienced professionals, fostering a nurturing atmosphere for growth and development. The training kitchen, a cornerstone of the initiative, imparts valuable skills such as food preparation, customer service, and entrepreneurship. Additionally, a flexible event space serves as a versatile hub for training and programs.

The fellowship’s impact resonates in the words of Dupree Wilson, a program participant who shares his poignant journey. With a family history marked by incarceration, Wilson’s personal transformation underscores the profound effect Drive Change has on its participants. “My pops went to prison, his pops went to prison, I went to prison. I became more emotionally mature. It wasn’t really hard for me to do the same thing that he did; with my son, I don’t want him to have that experience. My motivation for everything I do is for my son to grow up better than I did,” Wilson reflects.

Moon echoes the sentiment that addressing systemic issues is crucial, emphasizing, “We need to tackle the systemic issue.” By partnering with the hospitality industry in New York City, Drive Change not only provides practical training but also instills a sense of equity and support throughout its programming, aiming to break the cycle of incarceration.

In a city that never sleeps, Drive Change stands as a beacon of hope for youth, challenging preconceptions and investing in the future of individuals who deserve a second chance. Through culinary arts, leadership development, and a commitment to social justice, Drive Change paves the way for a brighter, more inclusive future in the heart of the culinary capital of the world.

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Source: Black Enterprise


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