One of Chugach’s Core Behaviors is We Build Community. Simply translated it means that we play an active role in the communities where we live and work. Under a number of our contracts, we work with Job Corps students across the United States, and these young men and women constantly teach us a thing or two about building community.

Aaron Isaac, a culinary arts student at the Alaska Job Corps Center, prepared the winning soup entry in the Empty Bowl Fundraiser held by the Kids Kupboard on Dec. 5, 2018. Several culinary arts students from Alaska Job Corps served the southwest-inspired soup, called “Fiesta Soup”, at the fundraiser organized to raise monies to help feed hungry children in the Mat-Su Valley.

During the fundraiser, guests selected handmade pottery bowls and then filled them with different soups provided by the volunteer cooks, like Isaac and the Alaska Job Corps students. After they sampled the soups, the guests dropped tokens at each station to vote for the best soup. Isaac’s soup earned first place, garnering the culinary arts students the “People’s Choice Award” at the annual event.

Instructor Helena Rodriguez led Isaac and the other students—Jackie Williams, Du Yang, Walker Daunning and Hailey Copeland—as they prepared for and served at the event. According to the executive director of Kids Kupboard, several volunteer soup-makers were forced to drop out of the event because of the earthquake on Nov. 30, but the Job Corps students still prepared and served the soup despite the challenges faced by many people in the Mat-Su Valley in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Dec. 14, 2018, was Isaac’s last day in his training program, and beginning the following week, he actively began applying for jobs in the culinary field.

The Alaska Job Corps Center is a federally funded career training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor and managed by Chugach Educational Services, Inc. The Center is committed to providing the highest quality programs for young adults by offering instructions in academics, trades and life skills through innovative methods that respond to the unique individual and group needs of today’s youth.

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