Jose Luis watched Chef Tano Williams as he moved around the kitchen. The windows were wide open, letting in sunlight and laughter from the playground. Jose Luis looked at the spices Tano set on the counter. He pictured the kitchen in his family’s home, realizing most of the spices the chef used for his dish were spices accessible to Jose Luis in his own kitchen. He listened carefully the rest of the day, following Tano’s movements in the kitchen, and when he left the community center in Tres Reyes, he knew without question he wanted to be a chef.
Jose Luis, along with three other teens from the Tres Reyes community, recently had to decide which track they would like to pursue in high school. Jose Luis and Perla will be pursuing classes to become chefs. The time he spent with Tano Williams left a large impact on Jose Luis and his goals for his future.
“When mission teams come down and people share their talents and passions with the children we serve, it is such a big deal,” shared Darlene Ruiz, Back2Back staff. “Watching Tano in the kitchen and learning a simple recipe from him left a lasting impression on Jose Luis, and we are excited to see him pursue this dream.”
Elisa, another teen in the Strong Families Program, was the most enthusiastic to decide next steps. “Elisa loves, and is gifted, in advocating on behalf of others,” explained Darlene. “I’ve always encouraged her to consider becoming a lawyer, but she’s expressed an interest in Criminology for a long time. When I asked her why, it came down to being able to provide answers to family members who were mourning the loss of their loved one. She wants to help people heal.”
Darlene was able to set up a meeting for Elisa with a close friend who is in criminology. “It was a unique opportunity for Elisa to better understand the ins and outs of the job, how closely she would be working the with police and forensic scientists, and what a typical day might look like for her,” explained Darlene. While Elisa’s always been passionate about criminology, she also holds an interest for anatomy. The criminologist she met with suggested Elisa pursue nursing first. “She told her if criminology was still something she held passion for after finishing high school, then her college career could be focused on that, but she would also have nursing in her skillset,” said Darlene.
Ami is highly extroverted, and wants to use her social skills to serve the people of Cancun. “Ami is very interested in pursuing hospitality, and has felt strongly about her decision from the beginning,” explained Darlene. Ami has already begun researching high schools she could attend and was able to find one right around the corner from where she lives. Darlene and the rest of the Cancun staff look forward to coming alongside each teen as they move forward in their educations.
Thank you for your faithful dedication to Jose Luis, Perla, Elisa, Ami, and each child in the Strong Families Program name their giftings and pursue future goals for themselves. Your advocacy reminds each boy and girl they are worth the fight.