New York-based start up Drive Change offers formerly incarcerated youngsters the opportunity to serve up locally-sourced food with a side of social justice. With the already competitive job market, finding employment as a former youth inmate can be very difficult, and oftentimes a lack of income can lead back to a life of crime. Through the Drive Change food truck program, young adults can start with a clean slate and get a chance at employment, life skills and a future.
Jordyn Lexton left the comforts of her full-time job as an English teacher almost a year and a half ago and founded Drive Change, a program supported by the Center for Employment Opportunities. Lexton previously taught at East River Academy, a public school connected to New York’s Rikers Island Correctional Facility, where she experienced first-hand the struggles of young former inmates transitioning back into society.
Drive Change plans to rehabilitate youth through food—a universally relatable comfort that defines communities. Here’s how the program will work: For eight months, 8 to 10 young adults will work through three phases of training that will include food service, managing money and people, customer service, team building skills and off-site counseling and mentorship. Drive Change plans to churn out about 30 people per year per truck staffed by a rotating crew of youth who will serve as cashiers, chefs, supervisors and managers.
Program participants will also learn a thing or two about slow, fresh food, as the truck will feature a menu of local and sustainably produced food from New York State. But before Lexton can help turn these kids lives around using the Drive Change model as a catalyst for social justice, she needs a truck. Recently having launched a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to buy and set up a truck, Drive Change is looking to raise $40,000 to be used towards launching the first program in September 2013.
To make a contribution to the Drive Change campaign donate here.