Tameka is a determined woman, mother, employee and student, motivated by what feels right for her and her daughter to succeed. And graduating from our Pathlight Kitchen Culinary Training Program was the perfect step for her, at the perfect time.
After graduating high school, Tameka entered the retail industry. There, she worked so hard and in so many different positions that customers began calling her the name of the establishment! But something was amiss. After 20 years in retail, Tameka knew she had to move on; that was not what she wanted to do for life.
A new job providing cell phones in the homeless and senior communities brought her into our Pathlight HOME Employment Center. In what can only be described as “meant to be,” her job helping others contact their family became SO much more. It led her to meet with our Employment Manager, Fernando, and Employment Counselor, Belinda, and find our Culinary Training Program through them. “Getting into cell phones led me back here…a place where I can feel at home…to hunt for an opportunity,” she says.
“God gave me this opportunity,” says Tameka. “I needed a skill…I needed a win…and before I even finished class, I got a job at a 5-Star Hotel that has a lot of restaurants!” She loves her job and is extremely appreciative that both her employer and Chef Esteban were willing to modify schedules, so she could complete the class while working, and made certain to be at each place on time and with a smile. Her daughter, who preferred fast-food, would now rather eat at home. Tameka knows how to marinate, sear, chop, use herbs and spices, and much more, thanks to Chef Esteban. “He’s awesome!” says this single mom who is now cooking with joy. “I upgraded myself…and am still learning.”
Tameka’s goals for the future start with her daughter, who is her pride, heart, and reason for doing everything. Getting ready to enter college to study computer science and engineering, her daughter is an Advanced Placement and Honors student whom Tameka wants to help get a good head start. She also plans to start a mother-daughter business to sell their artwork and to invest in the community. “I can’t stop now; I’ve got to keep going,” she says of her journey. “My future is as bright as the stars and moon in a dark sky.” With her drive, caring heart, and willingness to take on new opportunities, we think that future is brighter than the whole solar system!