Last year, Ben was a young man who wasn’t sure what the future held. At the age of 21, he was working as a dishwasher, but a serious hearing loss and a battle with depression were holding him back from achieving his full potential. Then he learned about the Food Services Training Program at The Ottawa Mission.
Cooking, particularly baking, has long been one of Ben’s passions – partly inspired by his great-grandfather who was a well-known chef in Ottawa. Ben’s challenge was to gain the skills and the self-confidence he needed to succeed in his chosen profession.
During his five months of both on-the-job training and classroom education at The Mission, Ben has fine-tuned his cooking skills and learned how to operate all types of specialized restaurant equipment. More importantly, he has grown personally, and he credits his newfound strength to counselling along with the great support and encouragement he has received from Chef Ric and the kitchen staff at The Mission.
Ben is planning to pursue his cooking career – and his particular passion – by attending Algonquin College next fall to work towards his certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts. And the “icing on the cake”, so to speak, is that Ben is now working at a local catering company, and will continue to do so when he returns to school.
It is thanks to our generous donors that people facing personal challenges, like Ben, are able to receive support and valuable training – and the gift of hope that goes along with it – that makes such a difference in their lives.