Name, age & where you are from?
My name is Destini Jackson – I’m 24 years old and I was born in San Diego
What led you to participate in the Dreams’ Cuisine program? How long have you participated in the program? In what ways were you helped by the program? What are some of the positive outcomes of your participation in Dreams’ Cuisine?
I was referred to the Dreams’ Cuisine program by my case manager at South Bay Community Services because I was having difficulty finding employment due to my background. I first joined Dreams’ Cuisine in April of this year; and at that time, I was homeless, house-hopping and on the streets. I was also fighting for custody of my 2 children – so I was grateful that Dreams for Change was willing to look past my background and give me an opportunity to work – to prove myself. After joining the program, Dreams for Change referred me to New Alternatives for transitional housing; and the only reason I was even able to pay my part of the rent for my housing is that I was given a chance to work and make some money. Because Dreams for Change was willing to give me a chance, I was able to prove that I could stabilize my life – and the best thing that has happened since being in the Dreams’ Cuisine program is that I was able to get my kids back! AND the custody case is actually closed! I am so grateful to you guys for that – Because you gave me a chance and offered me flexibility while I was going through all of this, I was able to show the judge that I could do better and that I could take care of myself and my children.
Do you have children? If so, how many?
I have 2 babies… 3 and 5 years old
After completing the Dreams’ Cuisine program, they referred me to Baked in the Sun [a wholesale bakery and food manufacturer]. I was hired the same day as the interview! But I wasn’t able to keep the job, because this was my first time working a full-time job and having custody of my kids – I kept missing work because I didn’t have reliable childcare yet – I didn’t know they were going to hire me right away! And I didn’t know how hard it is to try to work full-time when you’re a single parent. But Dreams for Change let me come back to the Dreams’ Cuisine program; and in a few weeks, I’ll be able to have both of my children in school. My plan is to continue working in the Dreams’ Cuisine program and then apply to the Kitchens for Good program, because I want to stay in the culinary industry and learn even more – and until I can get my record expunged [in Feb 2018], I want to keep building my skills so that when I can pass a background check, I’m ready!