Former Grantee Continues to Cook Up Success for Women Leaving Prison

An innovative prisoner re-entry program in Cleveland, Ohio, is continuing to succeed in giving currently incarcerated women a second chance through the culinary arts.

Chopping for Change (C4C) is a partnership between Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM), the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and the Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry. Thanks to our generous donors, We Raise Foundation was an early supporter of C4C, awarding a $40,000 GrantsPlus Grant in 2015.

Women incarcerated at the Northeast Reintegration Center come to LMM five days a week and engage in a comprehensive program that includes counseling, support services, and culinary arts training.

Since 2016, 166 women have entered the program with 80% finding full-time employment upon their release and 90% are employed after six months. Most impressive is 98% of Chopping for Change participants have stayed out of the criminal justice system post-release.

LMM continues to expand C4C with additional diploma programs. It also offers internship opportunities to C4C participants who have graduated from the culinary program and are close to their release

Tye went to prison on a parole violation, stemming from a drug charge. “When those doors slammed behind me, I wanted something new. This cannot be my life. I will not allow this to be my life anymore,” she said. Tye applied and was accepted into the C4C culinary program.

“I mean, I had a lot of time to spend on myself. Why not spend that time learning something that I loved to do?” Tye said.

Little more than a year out of prison, Tye achieved her goal. Now the lead pastry chef at the Marble Room, one of Cleveland’s most upscale restaurants, she has an income, benefits, and three assistants.

Thanks to We Raise donors and supporters, innovative reentry programs like C4C give formerly incarcerated women like Tye a second chance at a bright future.

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