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Providing career support for families facing challenges

Robyn in the kitchen of Pillsbury United Communities Waite House

After being out of the work force for roughly 10 years, Robyn came to Pillsbury United Communities – Waite House, a United Way partner agency, for a program to help her prepare for a career in the culinary arts. Prior to enrolling in the program, Robyn experienced several life challenges that kept her from steady employment, including surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Robyn became interested in the Culinary Arts Training program after volunteering at the center’s Community Café.  “I came to this program because I wanted to learn more about working in a kitchen, I also wanted to be a part of the community,” Robyn said.

She learned a wide range of kitchen skills – including knife and cutting skills, how to follow recipes and prepare nutritious food, as well as general kitchen cleanliness.

Since completing the program, Robyn has found work in a kitchen and is eager to continue her culinary dreams. “I’d like to be an executive chef and have my own restaurant someday,” she said.

Beyond career support, Robyn also relies on Waite House’s afterschool program for her 5-year-old son. Each day he spends time working with a tutor and enjoys play time with the other kids.

Robyn said that in addition to her own self-determination, the Waite House staff provided encouragement and support on her path to employment and self-sufficiency. “The people here gave me the push to say ‘Robyn, you can do this,’” she said. “I felt like I was part of one big family.”

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