A group of young people have taken their Leadership, Engagement and Development program (LED) at Fairbridge to the next level, putting on an International Food Tasting Day for charity.
Now in it's fourth intake, the federal government-funded program offers free training for at risk youths (aged 17 - 25), addressing their barriers to employment and includes all travel, training, learning materials and food.
Participants go through a Certificate I in Leadership and then a Certificate II in either Hospitality or Community Services and are given on the job experience also.
The latest group, as part of their Cert I team project, decided to hold an International Food day, creating dishes from their cultures. They also asked if they could use the project to fundraise for a local charity.
After voting on a selection of local, non-profits in the Peel region, the participants unanimously chose Homestead for Youth.
Homestead for Youth is an organisation committed to empowering young people at risk and their families, by providing residential services, mentoring, counselling, holistic and innovative therapies and psychology care in the homely setting of their farm at Meelon.
The organisation has welcomed hundreds of young people and their families to the farm therapy experience where they develop friendship and curiosity with the farm animals, the art and building therapies, and sensory and counselling sessions.
They take a holistic approach to psychology and the "together, if we all did our part, we can make one more young person's lives safer" philosophy.
Donna Duxbury, the LED program coordinator, contacted Carla Fadelli from Homestead for Youth who was thrilled and extremely grateful for the offer. Ms Duxbury also asked if a representative from HFY could be present on the day and Mrs Fadelli was excited to send her husband Marty and a young person who lived at the farm, to experience the day.
The participants liaised with the trainers and as a group, took part in aspects of planning, preparation and delivery of the day.
They sourced their own family recipes and where they originated, made their own shopping lists, collated all the ingredients they would need and then presented it to the trainers for buying.
Once all the ingredients were sourced, the Fairbridge Community Education kitchen was booked for three days and they got to work sautéing, stewing, saucing, deep frying, chopping, mixing and blending about 15 different dishes to serve on the day.
At times it was high pressure in the kitchen, but everyone dug in a helped each other out, showing exactly what it meant to be part of a team.
On the day their delivery was flawless.
They set up the restaurant area immaculately, delivered a welcome which included an explanation of the day, an acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land they were using and of course, the food they cooked.
They each served their own dishes and answered any and all questions about ingredients and heritage.
"The food was spectacular and delicious," Ms Duxbury said.
A welcome $300 was raised for Homestead for Youth, with around 30 people coming through the doors and tasting the delicious dishes.
The verbal feedback received on the day was brilliant, from requests for the day to be an annual event and be open to the wider public, to people asking for secret family recipes to be shared.
The participants were thrilled with the feedback and the outcome of the fundraising and all left feeling extremely proud to have been a part of something so successful.