From Second Chances to Culinary Triumph: Julien’s Story

Julien is a graduate of the Pathlight HOME Culinary Training Program.


 But achieving this milestone in his life wasn’t an easy path. 


When Julien recently earned his culinary certifications, the moment was more than a culmination of eight weeks of training. It represented clarity, resilience and determination after decades of hardship. 


Born and raised in Orlando, Julien faced many challenges early in life, including falling into the wrong crowd and struggling with a lack of direction. Despite these hurdles, he found his calling in the world of culinary arts. 


Reflecting on his transformative experience, Julien shared, "I asked God to come into my life and change me. I gave Him complete control." This declaration marked the beginning of his remarkable journey to redemption and success.

In fact, shortly after is when someone made the recommendation that he enroll as a student for the Pathlight HOME Culinary Traning program.


"Pathlight was God-sent," he said, emphasizing the program's impact on his life. Under Chef Esteban and Shiela's mentorship, he honed his culinary skills and discovered a supportive community that believed in his potential. 


"They were there for me,” Julien shared. “A lot of times, you find hardships after you’re incarcerated. People shut doors on you and ignore you. But this program opened doors and believed in my potential."


As a recent program graduate, Julien is now employed as a grill cook at AdventHealth, a role he describes as fulfilling and enriching. "It’s everything you want in a career," he said.


And he’s not done yet. 


Julien plans to continue his culinary education, focusing on dietary nutrition. In addition, he has aspirations to open multiple smokehouse restaurants and create a nonprofit that supports single parents and children. 


Julien embodies the power of perseverance. His story reminds us that with determination, support, and a touch of faith, anyone can transform their life, one step at a time.