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Partner Spotlight: MiNO Foundation Gives Boys Town Youth a Unique Culinary Learning Experience

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Earlier this year, Boys Town Louisiana and the MiNO (Made in New Orleans) Foundation embarked upon an innovative partnership to provide Boys Town youth with new culinary adventures. The MiNO Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to enrich life, educate and create resources for New Orleans through food and mentorship, awards scholarships to young local chefs of color. Scholarships enable up-and-coming chefs to attend renowned culinary institutes and propel their culinary careers forward, while growing our local workforce.

Once a month, a MiNO Foundation-sponsored chef expertly teaches and prepares a signature meal for one of Boys Town Louisiana's group homes. During these dinners, MiNO chefs introduce Boys Town's kids to new people, new skills, new food experiences, and ultimately, to new career possibilities. On the flipside, this experience is beneficial for the chefs, too, as they get to take their culinary expertise one step further through teaching.

"We believe creating opportunities for our chefs to share with young people their passion for food and cooking is a wonderful way to connect with them," said MiNO Program Coordinator Morgan Dugas. "We value community, and food is the fundamental way to bring us all together. "

On a recent monthly visit, Chef Alex Anderson put her skills to the test at Boys Town Louisiana's Intervention & Assessment Center by teaching while preparing a delicious vegan meal for more than a dozen teenage boys. Despite the unlikely pairing, the kids surprised Chef Anderson with their adventurous palates and enthusiasm to learn how to carefully prepare food.

Boys Town's Model® of care focuses on equipping our youth with the hard and soft skills to solve real-world problems they may face as independent adults. Cooking, and being able to provide for themselves, is one of these valuable adult lessons. The dinners with MiNO chefs also allow the young men to learn more in-depth information about real career possibilities in the tourism, hospitality and culinary industries.

The last six months have proven that by working together, the MiNO Foundation and Boys Town Louisiana can use food and mentorship to produce a stronger, healthier and more sustainable Louisiana community.