The luncheon capped an eight-week Culinary Arts program, where kids obtain their Arizona Food Handlerâ€™s certificate, coinciding as part of Julyâ€™s Culinary Arts Month observation.
â€œThis specialized program for at-risk youth is an opportunity generator,â€ said Frank Castillo, director of residential services at Devereux Arizona. â€œThe skills these youth learn and having them come out of the program with their food handlerâ€™s card, we are assisting in the preparation for employment.â€
This year, two classes of youth graduated from the program, which culminated with a luncheon to showcase their culinary skills. From menu planning, food prep, table setting to serving, youth in Devereuxâ€™s culinary program get a taste of real-world dining while sharing each otherâ€™s unique talents. The most recent luncheon took place on July 8 with 30 guests in attendance and four youth completing the program. A future luncheon has not been scheduled yet.
Devereux Arizonaâ€™s Culinary Arts Program is a cohort of youth living on a 10-acre campus at its Residential Treatment Center, providing at-risk youth with meaningful learning experiences. Luncheon themes and menu items vary per program.
â€œAlong with the new cooking skills learned during the program, these children can build self-confidence, learn about teamwork, safety, public speaking and exposure to different cultures and cuisines,â€ added Castillo.
Devereuxâ€™s Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is a 52-bed center where youth between the ages of 5-17 live and attend school while receiving treatment for emotional, mental, behavioral and/or substance abuse challenges. The RTC, a Level 1 therapeutic facility, is Arizonaâ€™s only facility providing youth with specialized programming in a safe environment in which to heal.
Devereux Arizona began a therapeutic day school in 1967. The RTC was established in 1978 as a 32-bed center before expanding to 52 beds with the new Marley Dormitory in July 2019.