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Ashley is a young woman determined to make her mark in the restaurant industry! Earlier this summer, she reached an important milestone in her journey. On June 17th she graduated – with flying colours – from The Ottawa Mission’s Food Services Training Program.

This time last year, Ashley couldn’t have imagined that she would be where she is today. She has struggled with a learning disability all her life and, although she loved cooking she lacked the skills and self confidence she needed to really succeed in the field.

During her five months of both on-the-job training and classroom education at The Mission, Ashley fine-tuned her cooking skills and learned how to operate specialized restaurant equipment. More importantly, she has grown personally, and she credits her newfound confidence to the great support and encouragement she has received from Chef Ric, his team, and her fellow classmates in the program. But Chef Ric would argue that it was Ashley’s determination and hard work that made the difference. It comes as no surprise to those who have come to know Ashley during her time in the Food Services program that she lives by a motto that many will find familiar: “Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda.

The next step for Ashley is to further her dream through higher education, and she has applied for admission to Algonquin College’s culinary program. In the meantime, she is working full time in a local restaurant.

Thanks to people like you who give such generous support, people facing personal challenges, like Ashley, are able to receive support and valuable training – and the gift of hope that goes along with it!

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