Hope Program Cooking Show, by Chelsie Puterbaugh, Back2Back US Staff

Tuesday night, Back2Back hosted a Cinco de Mayo fundraiser at the Party Source in Newport, KY.  Two students from the Back2Back Hope Program* (more info on the program below), Sebastian and Oscar, gave a great cooking demonstration and food tasting for thirty-two guests!  All proceeds from the cooking show will go toward academic scholarships for Back2Back Hope Program students.

During the cooking event, Oscar and Sebastian shared stories about their lives, told the crowd about their favorite food, their most enjoyable cooking style, and how they knew they wanted to become “great chefs”.  They also answered cooking questions and shared culinary insights with the audience, such as how to properly peel a tomato (by shocking it with ice water), blanch a pepper, and how to extract flavor from rice.

Sebastian prepares Tamal Azteca, a Mexican lasagna, while Beth Guckenberger interprets

Sebastian adds the finishing touches to the Tamal Azteca dish

Oscar prepared Caldo Tlalpeno and Arroz a la Mexicana, two Mexican dishes

This event, for me, was about so much more than enjoying delicious food prepared by Sebastian and Oscar.  I was able to look beyond their amazing cooking skills and see God fulfilling His promises – to give them a hope, a future and so much more!  Their life-long dreams are becoming realities all thanks to the Hope Education Program.  The dreams and passions they thought were so distant and unattainable are now a present reality and joy in their lives.

Mauricio, Oscar, Matt and Sebastian (left to right). Mauricio and Matt are two Back2Back staff members, who, along with their families, act as house parents for Hope Program teens, like Sebastian and Oscar

*Through the Hope Education Program, we offer students from Mexican children’s homes a way to continue their education when free public school ends at ninth grade. The students stay on the Back2Back campus in homes with staff families, experiencing a healthy family life, perhaps for the very first time. Students are mentored, provided with an education, and encouraged to pursue their dreams so that they can become self-sustaining individuals who give back to their community. Only 4% of Mexicans complete college; those who do will become the leaders of tomorrow, forever shaping the direction of their country.