Her day begins with heading into YouthWorks’ kitchen, checking in with trainees and staff members to get the crew prepared for making 150 emergency shelter meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Afterwards, she cooks in-house meals for YouthWorks’ crews and office staff. While leading those tasks, she manages a team of 15-20 staff and trainees throughout the day as they prepare and distribute meals for numerous sites across Santa Fe. She and her team also prepare 275 meals daily for the grab-and-go youth meals program, ensuring children and teens have a daily prepared meal, as well as supervise the preparation of 60 emergency meals for homebound individuals living in emergency housing in hotels. This is the average day for the not so average Catalyst for Change Award by FareStart’s Catalyst Kitchens winner, Jacqueline “Jackie” Gibbs.
Jackie Gibbs is YouthWorks’ Social Justice Kitchen’s Culinary Program Director. Those who learn and work with her share their appreciation of her establishing trust, accountability and connection to their work environment. These attributes support Jackie’s belief that a critical part of her job as a director is giving multiple opportunities to trainees who find it difficult to adjust to YouthWork’s program schedule and structure. She teaches her trainees that the skills gained in the culinary arts are skills that can be used for the rest of their lives and that everyone should have the opportunity to learn how to prepare healthy, innovative meals for themselves and for others.
Jackie adds, “I love working with youth using my experience and training to help guide them in the right direction. I have a passion for what I do in culinary training and operations because I know that everyone, no matter what their background, deserves the opportunity to be able to receive training and education for a successful life. Culinary work builds life skills and our social justice kitchen gives the opportunity to be able to give back to our community through healthy food.”
Jackie demonstrated her strong organizational and leadership abilities when she, her staff and trainees met the food security challenges that came with the pandemic by serving over 450,000 emergency meals to children and families in Santa Fe in 2020.
Jackie’s nominator describes her as, “a very driven person who exemplifies positivity, good humor, and determination. Jackie is an inspiration and an exceptional role model for all who have the opportunity to work in her presence.”
The Catalyst Kitchens team says, “Jackie’s undeniable dedication to her students and community is what makes the Catalyst Kitchens network so inspiring. She truly personifies the values of the Catalyst Kitchens member network and FareStart. The unwavering commitment of member leaders, like Jackie, is what truly drives the change members seek in their communities.”
YouthWorks has grown since its inception to include collaborations with many partners in the community and across [northern New Mexico]. Since 2001, YouthWorks has served thousands of youth while expanding youth development opportunities that include youth advocacy, high-impact interventions, alternative education, and employment connections for young people.
Every year since 2015, our network has honored the amazing work of someone making a difference and changing lives through work in a member program. Read about their stories by clicking below.
Congratulations to our 2022 winner, Marisa Peña of Breadline, Alaska, and their Stone’s Throw Cafe and training program. Chef Marisa rises to every new challenge as they come & always performs with the utmost excellence, compassion, professionalism & style. We applaud her work, and look forward to delivering this years grant and working with her team on a few additional perks to send her way.
Her day begins with heading into YouthWorks’ kitchen, checking in with trainees and staff members to get the crew prepared for making 150 emergency shelter meals, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Afterwards, she cooks in-house meals for YouthWorks’ crews and office staff. While leading those tasks, she manages a team of 15-20 staff and trainees throughout the day as they prepare and distribute meals for numerous sites across Santa Fe.
When hitting a rough patch in life, a listening ear and compassionate spirit can make all the difference. Meet Carla Domingo, workforce development employment navigator at Forge City Works, a longtime restauranteur turned teacher and counselor for youth and adult culinary training students. She has walked alongside students for six years throughout their transition from student to intern to employee and is our 2019 Catalyst for Change Award winner.
We recognize that it takes a village to drive successful culinary job training programs; from delivering life skills to demonstrating knife cuts in the kitchen, there are many hands involved in supporting students. The Catalyst for Change Award was created in 2015 to recognize exemplary individuals within our network for their dedication and embodiment of their organization’s mission. We want to shine a spotlight on those dedicating their time, passion, and resources to guide their students towards a successful career path in foodservice.
Idalia Nuñez has been a part of the SHFBCF Culinary Training Program since its very beginning, in 2013, and has helped create a program where “students are valued, respected, supported and trained for a healthy self-sufficient life.” Through her diligent efforts, the program has maintained a remarkable 100% job placement rate for graduates over the five years of operations. Idalia is committed to the Life Skills portion of the curriculum and is “always seeking out and fostering excellent relationships with employers and working tirelessly to secure sustainable streams of revenue to keep the program strong and meaningful.”
Tasheena Butler directs all culinary training activities for Liberty’s Kitchen’s Youth Development Program, providing disconnected youth with workforce and life skills training to become employed and self-sufficient. She is described by her colleagues as “the lynchpin of Liberty’s Kitchen,” a “charismatic leader” who is an innovative and skilled teacher.
The first recipient of this award is the very special Chef Marianne Ali, Director of Culinary Job Training at DC Central Kitchen. Marianne embodies the spirit of this award; she has given her heart and talent to supporting student goals and the success of DCCK.