For many of us, the past few years have included a lot of wondering what comes next. For Hot Bread Kitchen members like Isabel, 2022 has been the year to answer that question. “I was [at a tabling event] looking for information about the citizenship process, and I saw a beautiful picture of a woman in a kitchen,” Isabel said. “At that moment, I was struggling with a lot of things and I felt completely lost. I didn’t find Hot Bread Kitchen; Hot Bread Kitchen found me.”
Originally from Colombia, she had no family in New York and didn’t feel confident speaking English. With the high cost of childcare and no family in the United States, Isabel spent the past few years caring for her young daughter full-time, sometimes selling handmade crafts to supplement her husband’s income.
At a turbulent moment in her life, she decided it was time to find work outside the home. When Isabel discovered Hot Bread Kitchen, it reminded her of working at her mother’s bakery in Baranquilla, Colombia when she was growing up. She enrolled in our culinary training program, where she learned the fundamentals of cooking professionally and began to envision her career path more clearly.
“Hot Bread Kitchen is an opportunity to learn and do something good. It helps us grow not only personally but professionally. The staff is amazing, all the time. They treat you like you are part of the family.”Isabel
Hot Bread Kitchen provided Isabel with holistic services intended to support the whole person on their journey towards economic mobility, which included a weekly stipend, transportation assistance, and childcare vouchers.
She also joined our intermediate English class to improve her language skills, and found that she learned far more than grammar: the course also included lessons on American work culture, public speaking, and other professional readiness topics. “It is such an opportunity that I found in Hot Bread Kitchen. Not only the training in the kitchen, not just the English class, but all of it.”
Isabel felt so confident in her new English skills, she took her her NYC Food Protection in English, and did way more than pass—she earned a 96%! She now has a lifetime Food Handler’s certification that will give her an edge in the culinary job market, not to mention greater self-assurance as she takes her next steps.