Greater Boise Rotary Foundation gave a grant of $22,000 to Life’s Kitchen, in 2018 and a grant of $7,500 last year. The money was used for equipment for food preparations. While presenting the $22,000 check, GBRF Board of Directors were invited to a Board Meeting of Life’s Kitchen. Their guest speaker was a young woman, in the program. Before she was introduced, we got a little background on the student and learned that before entering the program, her self-esteem was so low that she found it difficult to talk to anyone in the program.
She entered the boardroom with a purpose and an air of someone who wanted to tell us about herself. From the first sentence of her presentation to the end we were riveted. She told us of her life before Life’s Kitchen. She had dropped out of school, just hanging around with her friends all day, with no goals for her life. She was getting into trouble and had dealings with the police and headed down a path toward incarceration.
Now, after being in the program, she is headed toward a career in food service. She, obviously, is comfortable talking to groups of people, and is now a mentor to new students.
Life’s Kitchen works with 16-20 year old Opportunity Youth. These young adults are described as disconnected and are neither working nor in school and have a high risk of being incarcerated, homeless, or worse. In Boise, today, there are over 11,000 young adults that fit into this description. LK provides a 16 week Workforce Development, Food Service, Life Skills, and GED training program that provides them with on-the-job training for the food service industry.
Life skills training includes balancing a checkbook, applying for a loan, applying for an apartment, peer counseling, health relationship mentoring, changing the oil in their car, hygiene, and so much more. Life’s Kitchen supports those students who have no where to turn. They teach the students how to work, how to overcome barriers, and how to succeed in life.
Life’s Kitchen operates a Café, makes and delivers charitable meals, and caters for companies and special events. The proceeds, from all these activities, supports the ongoing programs. Before COVID 19 that is. When COVID hit, they had to shut down all of the businesses so students were not getting as much on the job training and money was not coming in from the different enterprises.
The good news is that the students are still getting great instruction from their first-class instructors and are doing more hands-on culinary training. When the state bounces back, from COVID, the graduates will be ready and able to go to work.
For more information on Life’s Kitchen and their program: www.lifeskitchen.org