Los Angeles County has more foster youth than anywhere in the nation – 30,000. These kids face tremendous challenges when aging out of the DCFS system at age 18. They have moved to an average of eight different foster homes and schools, which makes them feel unwanted. It’s difficult for them to develop social and life skills with no family support. Emancipated foster youth have a  hard time building trust and maintaining relationships. They often feel lost and hopeless.

culinarty arts for foster youth

Thanks to the generous support of the Moe Life Foundation, we launched another Culinary Arts program with five foster youth ages 18-24 from United Friends of Children and the Dream Center transitional-living homes. Taught by Mika Williams, our students learned about nutrition, how to buy produce, safety, and cooking techniques, chopping skills, soups, sauces, presentation, and they received their food handler cards.

moe life foundation

culinary workshop los angeles non profit

Chef Mika was surprised at the progress Carlos made. “He was very shy and didn’t even want to taste the food he cooked, but after taking this class, Carlos has come out of his shell.” He remarked, “Baking was really fun. Tonight I’m preparing Italian chicken and pasta with flan for dessert. I really want to join the army. I want to be able to cook for the troops.”

foster program quote
Elizabeth has led a difficult life, struggling with abuse and homelessness. She’s a young mother who is trying to get back custody of her daughter. After taking our Culinary Arts workshop, Elizabeth stated, “Now my dream is to be a chef in a restaurant.” Robyn Nelson who helps emancipating foster youth at the Dream Center shared, “I’ve seen Elizabeth grow since she started this class. She has a lot more confidence and joy in her life.”