New initiative combines culinary, business training to help at-risk teens
July 25, 2017 05:22 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Many of the criminals Albuquerque police repeatedly arrest got a young start to their life of crime. Once a teenager lands in jail, it’s hard to get their life back on track.
A new collaboration of community members aims to help Albuquerque’s most at-risk teens find their way.
For more than 40 years, New Day Youth and Family Services has been providing shelter and support to runaway teens. Now, they’ve teamed up with the New Mexico Restaurant Association and the New Mexico Kitchen Cabinet to provide training and education in culinary arts.
"When I was a runaway when I was 13 years old, I spent a week at New Day," said Sean Montano, co-owner of Monroe’s restaurant. "It was either New Day or jail."
Montano said he was lucky an officer gave him the option to go to New Day, and he wants to help more teens find their passion. He taught a 10-week cooking class to the students called "Gourmet Grub."
Soon, the students will be able to turn their new cooking skills into a business. Tuesday morning, New Day unveiled a new bicycle-powered food cart that students will be taking out to sell the dishes they make.
"We make the food and then we put it in here and take it out to venues and the kids start a business," said Max Thrasher, board chairman of New Day.
One 18-year-old New Day student, Joseph Green, said he's excited to take the food cart out but is already looking forward to cooking more complicated dishes.
"I do wish we could cook more than empanadas," Green said.
"We've developed this food cart to give these kids on-hand experience in putting together food and serving food and the financial side of it too," added Thrasher.
New Day leaders hope the program encourages local restaurant owners to hire these young adults, keeping them engaged in their community and off the streets.
Updated: July 25, 2017 05:22 PM
Created: July 25, 2017 02:14 PM
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