“I was not going to give up, so I applied aggressiveness and went for it.”
Ashlye was a student of KCC’s Project Rise in 2014. She entered the program having already completed the requisite credits for high school completion at the Bronx Aerospace Academy, but was denied a diploma on a technicality. While she had a passion for a job in the aviation industry, she knew that in order to support herself and her daughter, she would need to change her immediate career prospects.
Upon attending an information session, program administrators, Norma D’Arancio and Victoria Bershtat, urged her to enroll telling her that she had the skills to rapidly excel in the program. The commute was long but knowing that “the further I had to [travel] to get an education, the more I’d want it.” This momentum began the moment she started.
My name is Tearah Chesnut and I attended the CYAP back in 2010. When I first came across this program I didn’t know what I was getting into. I am happy to say that I did complete it and went on to starting classes as a full time student at Kingsborough just a few months later. I continued on with Culinary Arts up until I got pregnant in 2012. I was just about a few credits shy, but never continued. Since then I’ve worked in a few kitchens, but never really knew if that’s where I wanted to be. I was laid off recently from a charter school working as a cafeteria supervisor. From there I really didn’t want to go back into a kitchen, let alone find another job.
A few weeks after the layoff I decided to start my own business making soap! When people ask me what made me want to start making soap I could never really find an answer. When I think about it now, looking back, while I was in the kitchen, I always wondered how ingredients can be used in other ways (other than eating them). That’s when I started researching the benefits of fruits on your skin and other various foods in the kitchen.
Bringing it Home (BiH) has begun! Well, not quite yet. Our Community Chef, Maya Stansberry, has just come on board to organize and lead BiH. It’s a big task, but we have no doubt of her ability to make BiH a huge success! Check out her background:
Prior to taking on the responsibilities of BiH’s Community Chef, Maya was a student of Kingsborough’s Culinary Art’s program and also worked as a student aide at KCC Urban Farm. After graduating in 2015, she went on to study sustainable agricultural practices at the University of California Santa Cruz. In the midst of getting her hands dirty, Maya deepened her awareness of the inequalities throughout the current food system, further fueling her desire to be a resource to others and develop ways to make cooking a part of their unique lives. In addition to her work with BiH, Maya is attending Hunter College’s Food Science and Nutrition program.
Please join us in welcoming her!
Read more about Bringing it Home at the program’s homepage.
Community Health Worker Training 2015 Program Graduate,
The Northeast Resiliency Consortium
Written by: Malika Franklin
“The beginning of the rest of your life.” This is how Charmaine Davis describes the Community Health Worker (CHW) training program at Kingsborough Community College. She thought she was living her dream career as a dental hygienist before she discovered The Northeast Resiliency Consortium (NRC), a Department of Labor TAACCCT program, but little did she know, her life was just about to truly begin.
Shortly after receiving her Associate’s Degree from NYU, Charmaine’s mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Charmaine’s medical training aided in the care she gave her mother. She fought cancer almost 2 years before she passed away. One of her last wishes: “Don’t let anyone else suffer like this”. To Charmaine that was one promise she knew she had to keep.
With a desire to give back to local under-served, vulnerable and underprivileged communities, she began volunteering and giving presentations at neighborhood schools and community centers to bring awareness for oral care and cancer prevention, but she still felt that she needed to do more.
David Zubin 24, is a current student KCC’s Project Rise. Since enrolling, he has made it his mission to earn his TASC Certificate and find employment. Although it hasn’t been easy, in 8 months he has come closer to meeting goals–reaching over 100 internship hours, finding part-time employment and, working his way to taking the TASC Exam. “I love Project Rise and I focus on what is important: getting my GED, completing internship hours, and working at Applebee’s. I love working!”.
His hard work has paid off. David is the first Ambassador in Project Rise’s Ambassador Program. Since taking on this new role, his class attendance, participation, grades, and confidence have all gone up. “Now I feel important, like I am really needed. Sometimes I get excited and brag on Facebook and to my friends about what I do as an Ambassador.”
If you’ve read any of our recent posts about KCC Urban Farm, you’ve probably seen photos of one of our most dedicated and energetic student aides: Maya Stansberry. Before the holidays I sat down with Maya to talk about her work on the farm and her future plans in urban agriculture.
What is your interest in urban farming and where did it come from?
Growing up, gardening was a pastime that my mother and relatives eagerly shared, and something that I learned to appreciate as well as enjoy. While my family has no professional/educational background with gardening, we always had gardens or small, indoor greenhouses going on somewhere.As a result, and I feel like a hippie saying this, I love being outside and connecting with the earth. There’s something exciting about putting something in the earth and getting something else back.
I wouldn’t say that my interest in urban farming comes from growing up in Baltimore, but more comes from growing up in a family with a southern/country heritage where gardening/farming incidentally runs in the family (my fraternal grandfather, who grew up on a farm, has his own vegetable garden which I helped tend to in my early teens; my maternal grandmother has a vegetable garden at her church; my mom encouraged my siblings and I to attempt to grow things, etc.).
Earlier this fall, NRC Culinary Arts students participated in two Work Based Learning Opportunities that introduced them to both the catering/events management and business end of working in NYC’s culinary industry.
On Thursday, November 20th the NRC Culinary Arts Cohort # 4 students had the opportunity to participate in a Work Based Learning Opportunity, where they were provided a business operations tour by the owner of Black Shack, Mr. Jeff. Students learned about the intricacies of running a business and the importance of having a great sense of money management. “What was wonderful about this opportunity, was the students obtained real life experience; the information was not derived from a text book; rather, a visual experience that will surely stick with them,” said, an NRC staff member. Besides obtaining this real life experience, students were treated to one of the best burgers in town; student’s were astonished by the quality and the personal service provided by Black Shack, which will probably be one of the best memorable experiences in the program.
The Chef’s for Impact event was held, also on Thursday, November 20th, 2014, where the best chefs in New York gathered in an effort to raise funds to deliver e-Learning to rural Africa. Continue reading →
Earlier this month students from the NRC Culinary Arts job training program at Kingsborough visited KCC Urban Farm to get a hands-on lesson on the value of fresh, organic produce. Students, many of whom mentioned already having experience with their own gardens, were surprised to learn how easy it is to grow delicious food without using pesticides. Linking this visit to their work in the kitchen, students compared tomatoes grown on the Farm to store-bought ones, realizing the rich color, appealing texture, and vibrant flavor would be so much more appealing to customers.
Through NRC training, students learn about the of fundamentals of food industry jobs including cooking terminology and techniques, they’re given an introduction into what they’ll experience once they’re in a professional kitchen, and most importantly for NRC, they’ll develop a background for what it means to be resilient individuals, both in their personal and professional lives. Our program’s partnership with Kingsborough Community College provides classes that are taught by KCC faculty, through KCC’s Culinary Arts program, and access to many of the college’s perks, including the KCC Urban Farm.
If you’re interested in getting more info about NRC’s Culinary Arts program, fill out this quick online survey and a representative will get back to you with everything you need to know.
I sat down with Natalie, a recent Project Risegraduate, to talk about her experiences with the program.
Me: How did you hear about Project Rise and what made you sign up?
Natalie: My mother. She saw the Project Rise advertisement in the Kingsborough Community College Brochure. My family is run on tough-love so she basically threw the brochure at me and told me I needed to get my G.E.D (I swear she is a very kind and funny woman). But I did like how they offered a paid internship and work readiness. Heaven knows I had no job experience.
Me: You just graduated. Congratulations! What did you like most about the program?
Natalie: Generally I liked the whole package. The fact that I was going to be able to study and take the G.E.D. for free and have a paid internship along with obtaining college credits not to forget we had the chance to work on the Urban Farm, it was great…still is.
CUNY CareerPATH‘s marketing team, led by Christine Zagari-LoPorto at Kingsborough Community College, was just awarded the James C. Hall Program Award for Marketing from the Continuing Education Association of New York (CEANY)! This recognition highlights CCPs marketing efforts in print, online, and direct outreach. Utilizing methods that directly targeted populations who would benefit the most from our services (local neighborhood newspapers for out of work adults, young adults using social media, text notifications, local and regional job fairs, etc.), CCP far exceeded original enrollment outcome goals. This award recognizes the efforts of CUNY CareerPATH’s lead marketing team who collaborated with the CUNY Central Office and the other consortium colleges to develop innovative campaigns that helped CCP succeed.
The full award will be announced in early November at CEANY’s 2014 Annual Conference in Syracuse, NY.