Arnold grew up in the Morgan Park/Beverly neighborhood, having graduated from Morgan Park High School nearly 25 years ago.  Since that time, he’s dealt with multiple arrests and has done very little to build a viable work history.

“When you’ve been unemployed for that long, it just becomes a state of mind that you’ll always be that way”.

Arnold was living in transitional housing, still unemployed, when he decided he needed a change of direction in his life. “There’s nowhere to go but up”, he says.  He saw a flyer for an orientation session for our Foodservice Training program, and even though he didn’t know how to cook, he thought he’d give it a try, as he’d heard good things about the program.

“I needed to go all the way through something, and complete it for once in my life”.

He went through orientation in the fall of 2012, took the short test, and interviewed with one of our Case Managers. He felt defeated after the interview, thinking he’d never be able to finish everything he was supposed to do, or that he’d even be accepted into the program.

In spite of his own prediction, he was accepted, and took on the challenge.

“Sometimes you have to dig deep down, and find the motivation from within”.

Arnold accepted the challenge, and found a way every day to prove himself worthy. He found motivation from his chef trainers as well.

“The people get behind you seriously, and give you all of the tools to push yourself. Every day is a new challenge, but the encouragement is a good feeling.”

Three weeks before the end of the class session, one of the chef trainers took Arnold aside, and encouraged him to do extra work in the kitchen outside of class. Arnold found those last weeks very strenuous, but he was given the freedom to make the kitchen his own.

Arnold has been working at Inspiration Kitchens – Garfield Park, along with working a 2nd job in another kitchen ever since graduation. And though he is technically done with the formal training program, he still considers himself a student, and is trying to learn everything he can.

“I forget it’s payday, as I just want to come here and learn”!

Arnold is working every day to learn a bit more,  so he can leave Inspiration Kitchens for a new job with tremendous confidence.

“Thank you, Inspiration Corporation, for giving me a chance”.