With each student application, Food For Life (FFL) tries to understand what he or she needs in order to prepare them for the next best step.
Sometimes we get students who need the hard skills, the technicalities of good knife cuts, sautéing, and other professional cooking fundamentals. Other times, we get students who need a crash course in the soft skills, learning everything from consistency in attendance to how to accept feedback.
And every now and again, a student simply needs to know, even if for a little while, that there’s a place where she is welcomed and people care, a positive environment where she can learn and grow. That’s exactly what Florence “Flo” Amah needed.
Originally from Togo, West Africa, Florence and her family moved to the United States when she was five years old. A native French speaker, Florence’s English was originally not very good. In her school, students would make fun of her and give her swear words in place of greetings. They would also teach her other words to purposely get her in trouble.
Additionally, Flo has a nervous condition that occasionally causes uncontrolled tremors in her hands and stuttering in her speech. Because of her differences, Flo was bullied and teased by her peers from grade school to high school.
“She hasn’t had a lot of positive people in her life,” commented Flo’s godmother, Tracy Alexander. “When she walked across the stage for her high school graduation, no one cheered.”
Tracy was the one who encouraged Flo to apply to FFL, since Flo loves to cook and wants to pursue work in the hospitality industry. To read the rest of Flo's story at FFL, click here.