I am Hope
The recipe for success starts with picking the right ingredients and finding your passion. Ishana Strazzero-Wild’s passion always meant empowering children in her classroom to follow their dreams. Then, one day she realized it was time to follow her own.
The single mom earned a bachelor’s degree and had a good paying job, but something was missing. Ishana loved cooking; however, most traditional culinary training classes were too expensive. That’s when she discovered The Salvation Army’s Culinary Arts Training Program at the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. The free10-week program, started by Chef Timothy Tucker, serves students in need throughout the Dorchester/Roxbury area.
Ishana set her goals high. “There are a lot of different dynamics in every classroom and kitchen. Chef Timothy taught us how to work better together by listening and respecting each other,” she said.
“Students take care of each other,” according to Chef Tucker. “Ishana’s follow through and determination immediately set her apart from other students.”
It wasn’t just her determination. Ishana’s sense of empathy ensured that her classmates would also succeed. “I noticed that my classmate Sherry was consistently tardy, so I reached out to her and learned that she was also a single mother.” Sherry had to take a bus to drop her child off at daycare each day before class. Ishana started driving Sherry to Kroc each morning, dropping her child off on the way. Together they graduated in November 2016.
“The Kroc Center’s Culinary Arts program changes people’s lives,” she believes. Today, Ishana is head of food services at the Crispus Attucks Childcare Center, preparing 200 meals each day, planning healthy menus, and placing food orders. You’ll still see her around the Kroc Center, giving back as a mentor to the newest class of Culinary students and volunteering with Kids F.E.A.S.T. (Food, Education, Arts, Spiritual Development, Teaching). In her free time, Ishana continues to follow her dreams by creating “dream cuisines” as a private chef.
“You have the ability to change lives with whatever you make of it.”