AJ's Story: Adult Training Graduate

December 15, 2021

When AJ (he/him) enrolled in FareStart’s virtual Adult Culinary Program, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He knew he wanted to learn skills that would help him better understand himself and find a way out of the revolving door of incarceration and job insecurity. He came in with an open mind, ready to take a good look at himself and make some changes. The program helped him do just that.

One important takeaway AJ says he learned came from defining his values, which helped him understand himself better and drive him toward a mindset of making new and better decisions. He learned to begin to trust people again, which has helped him learn from and lend a hand to co-workers. He now finds himself addressing situations instead of avoiding them. Through the program and consistent counseling, AJ also better understands his triggers and is learning to identify when he needs to let go of something or re-evaluate it. At 6’ 5”, he shared that he feels he can appear intimidating and has adopted better tools to invite people in rather than keeping them at a distance.

AJ now has an updated resume and is doing well in his job, which he sees as a stepping-stone for something bigger. Since he came into FareStart’s program, AJ has wanted to become part of the solution and has future goals of opening his own restaurant that would serve people in need.

When asked what advice AJ has to incoming FareStart students, he said, “if you fear moving forward, just think about what you have accomplished so far that you aren’t willing to leap forward for. Is this what I want to hold on to or is a leap of faith worth it?”

He adds that the stories we share can provide people with turnarounds, and the possibility that he can be an example is why he is sharing a piece of his story with you.