January is National Mentoring Month, and we are highlighting a number of perspectives on mentoring, events, and ways you can get involved in the field. Today’s post, a program highlight, is submitted from Future Chefs.
- What is your name and what is your role at the organization? Please give us some information about your program Erin Ross. I am currently serving at Future Chefsas their Highland Street Corps Ambassador of Mentoring. I am starting the pilot year of the Future Chefs mentoring program called “Food is my First Language.” Food is my First Language is a site-based group mentoring program where adults and youth cook and share meals together. To participate in our program you do not need previous culinary experience or be a whiz in the kitchen. To mentor a Future Chef, the most important skill you can have is commitment and enthusiasm for healthy and supportive adult/youth relationships. A healthy appetite doesn’t hurt either.
- How does mentoring impact the communities you serve?
Right now we have a number of older youths, ages 17-21, who have graduated from our high school programming. These students have entered the post-secondary portion of our program, and are in college or working. While these students still receive support and guidance from our staff, Food is my First Language will be a way keep these students engaged as they transition into adulthood. These dinners will provide students with the opportunity to learn the skills they need to navigate socially and professionally in the adult world, while making them feel cared for, supported, and nourished.
- How has mentoring impacted the youth you serve? While this is the first year that we’re starting a formal mentoring program, Future Chefs has provided the youth we serve with informal mentoring. We have seen our youth make decisions to continue their education, find meaningful job placement, and gain necessary life-skills as a result of the support and guidance our organization has provided them. Our hope is that with the start of Food is my First Language, we can ensure that all of our youth have the opportunity for meaningful adult relationships.
- What is your program doing to celebrate National Mentoring Month? Future Chefs is going to hold a happy hour event at Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen on Wednesday Jan. 30 from 5:30-8 p.m. This event will highlight Food is my First Language, and raise awareness about the critical need for mentors at Future Chefs and in the Greater Boston community. This event will provide individuals interested in mentoring and people who work at mentoring organizations in Boston the opportunity to spend time together sharing great food and cocktails. Future Chefs will provide light appetizers for attendees - RSVP here!
- What advice would you give to adults looking to become mentors? To take the time and look at the many mentoring programs that operate in the Boston area. While one program may not feel like a good fit, there is a program out there that matches your interests, style, and comfort level. To make your search even easier Mass Mentoring Partnership can help connect you with one of the 200+ organizations in their network. This means in addition to finding the right organization for you, you’ll know that the organization either subscribes to, or is working towards following best practices in all areas of their program. You have what it takes to be a great mentor so give it a shot!
Future Chefs’ model is based on the understanding that every student is unique and flourishes in settings that provide: high expectations, opportunities to grow, and supportive interactions with adults. For more information visit www.futurechefs.net.