Written by Tori Kammer, Development & Communication Manager
For Urban Upbound client, Eunice Collado, cooking has always been a labor of love. While raising her children, she often found herself happiest in the kitchen, creating dishes that would bring joy to her family. It has always been a dream of hers to own her own restaurant or possibly even a food truck but due to financial circumstances and lack of support, she never fully believed this dream could be a reality for her.
Eunice first found out about Urban Upbound through her son who recently completed our masonry training program through Andromeda Community Initiative. She saw the change in him after working with our team and was inspired to start on her own journey. Eunice was originally searching for a job, simply to make ends meet. What she didn’t except, was how impactful her experience would be.
“When I first came to Urban Upbound I was in a dark place. I was looking for a job so I could pay my bills and feed my family. This program gave me so much more… they were able to relight my fire. I was finally happy again and found my purpose.”
After weeks of meeting with Eunice, our employment team was able to map out a plan that matched her strengths and long term goals. When our team discovered her passion for culinary arts, we were able to connect her to Hot Bread Kitchen’s training program which provides hands-on instruction on basic culinary and baking techniques, food safety, and other kitchen fundamentals. Eunice loved the program and was eager to learn each day. She gained skills and confidence she never knew she was capable of.
“I can’t even say how much I love this program. It was just what I needed. I loved what we did and all the people I met. I was able to turn something I did for fun into something I can actually have a career in.”
At the end of the program Eunice took, and passed, the NYC Food Protection Exam earning herself the Food Protection Certification, a valuable, lifelong credential. Eunice was equipped with all the skills and certifications needed to begin her job search in the food industry job market. It wasn’t long after she completed the program that she found her new job as a cook at an upscale Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. As soon as she received the news, she stopped by our office to celebrate with our team.
“I am happy and thankful I have a place to come to. I was crying with pride walking in the doors. There are so many people at Urban Upbound who care about me and want to celebrate. They were able to take me in as family and I am so grateful for their love and support.”
The Urban Upbound team will continue to support Eunice on her journey to one day owning her own restaurant, through our business innovation team. We look forward to guiding and assisting every step of the way.
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