“I had a purpose now”

Shanavia had been in nursing for 18 years working with disabled adults when she got sick.

“[I] couldn’t carry the patients in and out of the bed cause of the pain.” Unable to work full-time, she still managed to make ends meet and take care of her two 13 year old teenagers. She looked into catering as a means to make extra income on the side – but was met with walls left and right.

Then she got laid off.

Unable to get a new job due to her health problems, and unable to land catering jobs because she wasn’t licensed, she remained unemployed for a year.

It was “depressing,” she remembers. “Cause I’ve always worked.”

Shanavia was determined to stay focused on others though. “I stayed busy taking care of my grandmother and my kids,” she says.

One day in between taking her daughter to dance and her son to football, she came across one of our previous student’s Facebook posts

She was inspired by the beautiful Edible Arrangements she saw in the photos and reached out to the student, asking how to get involved.

Everything changed a week later when she started the Culinary Arts Program.

“I wasn’t home moping,” Shanavia said. “I had a purpose now.”

Despite struggling with health issues, she kept up with her coursework and studied at home when she didn’t feel well enough to come in.

“Once you start the class… You get a sense of hope. You get a sense of togetherness. You feel that in the building. Once you walk in, you have that comfort. That’s how it is when you come to Metropolitan. You feel loved. You feel the comfort.”

Shanavia was able to finish the program will walk in her graduation this Fall! She’s even working at our Inside the Box Café in Armature Works! But her dream is bigger than that. “I eventually want to open up my own business,” she says.

Shanavia still comes back and takes classes every now and then, and even regularly refers other students to the program. Her passions will always be to care for others and to be in the kitchen!

She shares her mantra: “Food to comfort the body. And love and care to comfort the heart.”