The STRIVE Future Leaders program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, is an innovative program designed for justice-impacted youth ages 18-24 that currently operates in Atlanta, Chicago, Connecticut, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and San Diego. We recently spoke to Gomol, a graduate of STRIVE Future Leaders at Café Reconcile in New Orleans, on his experience.
Tell us about yourself and why you came to STRIVE Future Leaders @ Café Reconcile:
My name is Gomol (pronounced Ja-Mal). I always had a dream of becoming a professional chef. When I heard that I could develop culinary arts skills and get practical job training with Café Reconcile through the STRIVE Future Leaders program, I knew I wanted to join.
What was your favorite part of the program?
We started each day with a “Word of the Day” and discussed inspirational quotes. It was my favorite part of the program because these conversations would help me push toward the things I want to accomplish in my life. It would help me remember why I joined and why it’s important that I work hard to reach my goals for myself.
What supports and skills did you gain?
STRIVE Future Leaders provided me with skills and strategies to help me plan my career, but also things that help me develop myself personally. I earned all the credentials I needed for my externship, and I’ve also developed better communication skills in workshops like “Code Switching,” which provided tools that helped me learn how to communicate in a professional environment.
What opportunities did you find after graduation?
My externship provided me with a pathway into a full-time, permanent position where I am gaining more work experience. Through the connections I’ve made and the network I’m gaining access to with this first job, I’m on my way to train under some of the best chefs in New Orleans and one day achieve my goal of becoming a professional chef. I know I have what it takes to make this happen for myself because of everything I’ve learned with STRIVE Future Leaders.
Any advice for others who may benefit from joining STRIVE Future Leaders?
The STRIVE Future Leaders program helps you see that it’s possible to reach your dreams if you trust the process and commit to it. It will have a huge impact on your life and open your eyes to all the options you have that you might not realize are there for you. We can all be successful if we put our mind to it.