July 27, 2022

Ivan's Story

Liz Gulachenski, Director of Programs & Services
Liz Gulachenski, Director of Programs & Services

Ivan is a true success story of our Cooking Up a Career program. Ivan had been with us for more than three years in some capacity or another. The first year Ivan spent much of his time trying to gain a focus and a purpose. He was working hard on his sobriety while managing debilitating anxiety. Ivan’s anxiety limited him to the confines of our four walls and the comfort of his own apartment. We slowly coached Ivan to participate in activities within the club that he found enjoyable, which for him was our kitchen. We serve breakfast and lunch daily to our members and Ivan liked taking part in the preparation of our meals. Within a few months, Ivan approached us about pursuing a career with a culinary focus. We introduced him to a course we provide called Cook-ing Up a Career which offers each student a curriculum geared toward working in a restaurant and receiving three different certifications. 

“I never thought I would have an opportunity like this,” stated Ivan Torres. “I have had many struggles in my life, but this has been a way to work toward a goal and have the systems and people in place to support me every step of the way.” 

Ivan successfully completed Cooking Up a Career and has continued to work hard. We were able to hire him in the much needed position of Prep Chef. He works in the kitchen, at outside events and has become our executive chef’s right hand man. Within the last two years Ivan has successfully remained sober, maintained his own apartment, cared for a dog and continues to work hard on a daily basis. Ivan was recently hired to run his own kitchen at an assisted living facility. We have full confidence he will succeed. Ivan is our latest success story through our dedicated Catering Options model.