SAIT cooking program for at-risk youth gets big financial boost
Thanks to a major gift to SAIT, the School of Hospitality and Tourism will continue to cook up a recipe for success for Calgary's at-risk youth.
SAIT has received $2 million from The Joyce Family Foundation. One million dollars will be dedicated to the Summer Cooks — Introduction to Cooking Apprentice program that began as a pilot in 2015 at the Culinary Campus downtown. The generous gift from The Joyce Family Foundation will ensure the program's continuation. The additional $1 million will be used for SAIT entrance awards — bursaries for incoming students, to any program, who demonstrate financial hardship in their pursuit of an education at SAIT.
This is the first major funding announcement of SAIT's second century and the largest gift SAIT's School of Hospitality and Tourism has received to date.
Aligned with the United Way of Calgary's All In for Youth initiative, the Summer Cooks program is aimed at inspiring vulnerable youth who are at risk of dropping out of high school. It allows them to complete their education by tapping into their passion for food and cooking.
SAIT's Culinary Campus offers these talented young people an organized, attractive and supportive environment along with the chance to learn from positive role models through SAIT's world-class culinary instructors.
Speaking at the announcement at the SAIT Culinary Campus. Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO said, "We know two of the main reasons young people don't finish school are financial constraints and access to programs they can be successful in. We are pleased our partner The Joyce Family Foundation has chosen to work with SAIT to help us remove those barriers and support our youth on their path toward successful futures."
Andrea Rosgen, speaking on behalf of Ron Joyce, the founder of the foundation, said "SAIT should be proud of its 100 years of applied education. We are happy to make this gift so students can access all SAIT has to offer so they can pursue their dreams."
When opportunity knocks
The program is already changing lives. A group of students who completed the program will be entering the Professional Cooking program at SAIT in September and one student is on track to receive his Professional Cooking diploma in October. Many other students who have completed the course have landed jobs in the hospitality industry.
"It was such an amazing educational experience," said SAIT Summer Cooks program graduate Travis Cornelius, 18, who is one of the students who will attend SAIT this fall. "It has given me the life skills I need and tools for the job. I'd like to thank the Joyce Family and to tell them that if SAIT keeps finding people who have a passion for cooking and who are at-risk, they'll find the same success as I have."