Tomorrow, December 4, is Colorado Gives Day, a day for Coloradans to come together to raise awareness and money for nonprofits like ours. Every donation that is made tomorrow will go directly towards supporting our culinary job skills training program and students like Rosalie, who come to WOW looking to make a positive change in their lives.
Rosalie came to WOW because she wanted a career change and had always enjoyed cooking. Her brother, a chef, told her about the WOW program and suggested she try it out. Rosalie was immediately attracted to WOW because she knew she could complete the program quickly and get a job making good money without needing a college degree.
Rosalie is currently in her sixth week of the program and is building upon her previous kitchen experience by preparing and serving food in the WOW Café and taking classes covering topics such as kitchen safety, kitchen math, and cooking techniques. Rosalie says that although she enjoys the program, it is not always easy. “The hardest part is being prepared to perform your duties at your station and to make the timeline the chef requires,” says Rosalie. “You start a new station and the chef provides a timeline and a checklist and you need to complete all the tasks within the allotted time.”
When asked what has been her favorite aspect of the program, Rosalie quickly responds with catering. “I like being able to help make the food for some of WOW’s caterings. It was easy stuff, but it was an extra accomplishment for us [students].” Rosalie said that she loves the idea of new people- people who have never been to or will never have the opportunity to eat at the WOW Café- enjoying her food through WOW’s catering services.
Like all students, Rosalie was assigned to a case manager who continues to support her throughout the program by helping her with housing, childcare, incentives, uniforms, transportation… “All the stuff it takes to have a job,” says Rosalie. “[My case manager] provides good ideas and asks questions as to what kinds of things I need, not only within the program but outside the program as well.”
Currently, Rosalie is spending quite a bit of time in the WOW computer lab working on her resume and cover letter with the help of her dedicated case manager. “[My case manager] is terrific. She has a lot of good ideas and a great foundation of how to set up my resume,” says Rosalie, who claims that she is confident she will find a job. “I feel like I have an outstanding resume and that I can get a job.” Along with perfecting her resume, Rosalie has been practicing her interview skills with one of WOW’s most dedicated volunteers.
Rosalie says she likes the idea of working with a chef, maybe preparing Mexican food, though she is flexible and would not mind learning a bit about Italian food either. She would prefer “a full service job in a café atmosphere that is casual.” After speaking with Rosalie, I know that would be the perfect atmosphere in which she would thrive. We will continue to do all we can to help Rosalie land her dream job of working as a prep cook at a café.
Although Rosalie loves cooking, she says, “It’s even nicer when a customer says ‘Hey, that was really great, I really liked it. See you tomorrow,’ so you know they enjoyed your food and service and are coming back.” With an outlook like that, we are confident that Rosalie will be successful in her new career. We wish Rosalie the best of luck and are eager to see what she accomplishes after completing the program.
In the meantime, we are doing all we can to support Rosalie and students like her to ensure that they have the skills necessary to obtain a job in the food service industry and take their first steps towards economic independence and self-sufficiency.
If you would like to help students like Rosalie, please join us and help change the lives of men and women in Denver by supporting Work Options for Women on Colorado Gives Day, tomorrow, December 4th. When you give online at any time tomorrow, the value of your donation can be increased by the FirstBank Incentive Fund. This is a big day for us as we are hoping to raise $20,000 to apply to programs that help break the poverty cycle and help students like Rosalie onto a path of self-sufficiency. Visit WorkOptions.org or click here to make your life changing donation on Colorado Gives Day.