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This has been a special month for the eight men and women in The Ottawa Mission’s Food Services Training Program who are wrapping up five-months of culinary training.

Last week, the students prepared a special four course dinner for almost 80 people who bought tickets and came down to The Mission’s dining room for the FSTP Gala Dinner. The event was an opportunity for the men and women to put their new skills into action, and it was a great success.

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.”

The crowd was especially touched when one of the students, Kasaye, shared how his life had been changed by the program. Kasaye says he struggled to find his way and relied on social services for a few years before he heard about the training program in the Mission kitchen. Now he’s found his passion and says he only wishes he would have connected with The Mission years ago. Kasaye has even found employment already with a local catering company, and he looks forward to what the future holds.

This week, Kasaye and his fellow students will be celebrated at a special graduation ceremony in The Mission’s dining room. The FSTP 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 for years to come.

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