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June is ‘graduation’ season for many families in the community and one of the highlights of the calendar this month  at The Ottawa Mission is a special graduation celebration we hold for the men and women in our Food Services Training Program.

This week, 9 people completed the 5 month commitment to the culinary program. Chef Ric Watson, who oversees the Mission kitchen, maintains there’s much more involved in the FSTP than just teaching people to cook. In his words, “this program builds self-esteem and confidence, which are fundamental to success in any career.”

Sheldon can vouch for that. He is one of the graduates this week and says this program has made a huge difference in his life. Sheldon has always liked to cook but says “it was the Food Services Training Program that ignited my passion and gave me a goal. My plan now is to become a red seal Chef – it may take me a few years, but I have a purpose and life is back on track.”

Sheldon has already found a new full time job, working in the busy kitchen of the Lord Elgin Hotel and he says he couldn’t be happier there.

The Food Services Training Program has touched many lives in the past 11 years and thanks to the continued support from the community, it will continue to change lives like Sheldon’s in years to come.

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