February 15, 2023

A Recipe for Success: JBAY Helps Youth Gather The Right Ingredients

A Recipe for Success: JBAY Helps Youth Gather The Right Ingredients

Christopher Holt has big dreams for his future. He knows what it takes to build a recipe for success; he is just missing some important ingredients. Like many transition-age youth who have been in foster care, Christopher is navigating school and trying to find housing on his own, without the support of an extended family. 

Christopher is a student in his final year in Los Angeles Harbor College’s Culinary Arts program. He recently received $500 from John Burton Advocates for Youth’s Burton Critical Needs and Opportunity Fund to help him secure permanent housing after he completes the program. 

Christopher was born and raised in Lancaster, California. As a young child, his parents were largely absent; his mother dealt with an alcohol and drug addiction, and his father was incarcerated. When they were no longer able to properly care for his needs, he entered foster care at four years old. From then on until age 18, he stayed in various foster care placements, occasionally returning to visit his birth parents. At age 18, he moved into transitional housing and enrolled in community college. 

As a child, Christopher always cherished the moments in which he and his parents were able to be fully present together. In particular, he found solace in cooking, and the lasting bond that it brought between them. 

Chris discovered this Culinary Arts program through his social worker, and decided that this was the right path for him. Though he is currently in stable transitional housing, he is aware that this will soon no longer be an option for him, and that he needs to plan accordingly. “I am grateful that this funding from JBAY will help me apply for an apartment after graduating. Housing can be hard to find, but this money definitely eases my concerns moving forward.”

After completing his Associate’s degree, Christopher plans to start his first professional job in a culinary setting, where he can gain experience serving an array of customers and learning about how to manage a business. Eventually, he wants to acquire a business degree and open his own restaurant. 

One thing Christopher will always appreciate about his relationship with his parents was their mutual love for cooking. Amidst a turbulent childhood, his safe space was in the kitchen. This sense of security is what has motivated him to pursue his college and career goals. Thanks to JBAY’s financial assistance, he is now better equipped with the ingredients he needs to achieve these goals.