For youth in the juvenile justice system, one of the best recipes for success combines useful skills, newfound confidence and positive ways to spend time upon release. The Youth With Faces culinary program is a cornerstone of how we help youth create more positive futures. And, since the program involves food, it is not surprisingly one of the most popular programs with the teens we serve.
Recipe for Employment
About 3 out of 4 of Youth With Faces graduates secure post-release employment – a rate much higher than the 1 in 10 in the typical juvenile offender population. The culinary program contributes significantly to this success rate, helping connect teens with the skills and opportunities to work in restaurants and other food establishments. Program elements include:
- Culinary arts training. Students have hands-on training with professional chefs, learning to develop and prepare six complete meals, resulting in a certification that can be used on job applications and resumes.
- ServSafe® Food Handler program. In the restaurant industry, one person with this food safety license must be on duty at all times. Participants in the four-week program learn basic health and safety standards and, on passing an examination, receive the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe certification, giving them an advantage in the job market.
- Real-world experience. Participants who excel in the programs are also given the opportunity to participate in training and dinner preparation at Café Momentum, the innovative Dallas-based nonprofit restaurant and culinary training facility that Youth With Faces helped launch and incubate. We partner with Café Momentum on pop-up dinners with local guest chefs at which our youth gain real-life kitchen experience, plus connect graduates with them for valuable post-release internships.
- Nutrition education. We partner with North Texas Food Bank to teach teens about the fundamentals of a healthy diet, what is in food and how to create nutritious meals.