Monday, May 15, 2017

Meet Chef Destini!

It all started with a writing assignment I gave my 6th graders...

One of the vocabulary words in one of our units of study was enterprising. I always explain to my students that they have natural gifts and talents, and that those gifts and talents are designed to be used to help others who need what they have. I always tell them to pay attention to what they do well and to key in on how it's connected to what they like to do and/or have a passion for. They learned from our very short study of young entrepreneurs that they, too, can be enterprising. They learned that they, too, can be entrepreneurs.

I decided, in the middle of that unit, to give them the following topic as one of the Quick Writes for the week.

Everyone has something that they do exceptionally well, something that they just have the natural ability to do. What is that thing for you? How can you use that to help you become enterprising?

Their responses blew my mind! They had so much to say, and there were some AMAZING ideas! I was so moved by how in tune they were with their gifts and talents, and I was floored at their ability to articulate how they could help others with what they have to offer, so I decided to take a couple of their Quick Writes and post them on my social media outlets. I was just so proud! I would've never imagined that what took place thereafter would have been so.

When I posted Destini's Quick Write, one of my college friends, Chef Ederique Goudia, who is a chef in Detroit, sent me a message. She was moved by Destini's pure desire to use her gift with cooking to help others, so she wanted to be a blessing to Destini and assist her in reaching her dream. One thing Chef Ederique knew for sure was that she wanted to don Destini with her first chef coat. I was stunned!

Throughout the next few days, Chef Ederique and I were texting, e-mailing and talking on the phone, panning out the details of what she wanted Destini to have. Chef Ederique wasn't satisfied with just making sure that Destini had her PERSONALIZED chef coat, but she wanted her to be encouraged by other chefs so she won't lose sight of her dream. Chef Ederique reached out to other chefs in the Detroit area, shared Destini's Quick Write with them, and gave those chefs the opportunity to be a blessing to Destini too. Not only did the chefs give Destini "cooking gifts", but they showered her with letters of encouragement.

Once all of the details were etched in stone, Chef Ederique gathered all the goodies from the other chefs and sent 3 packages to me. I, in the meantime, was on the phone with Destini's mother planning a presentation for Destini. I knew I wanted it to be during the school day in Destini's class so her classmates could see and be encouraged to believe in whatever they mentioned in their Quick Writes, and whatever else was in their hearts that never even made it to their papers. Destini's mom made it her business to leave work for a couple hours to be in my classroom to witness Destini being coated and to share in that special moment with her.

Watch the presentation here:Way to Go, Chef Destini!

Destini not only has her first chef coat, but she has cutting boards a set of knives (that we were sure to put in her mom's hands to take straight home), t-shirts from Detroit restaurants and letters of encouragement. Chef Ederique has even offered to be Destini's distant mentor and has encouraged her to reach out any time.

The students were motivated by the presentation. We had talks afterward about how they could use what they're naturally gifted with. Seeing Desitini's dream up close and personal triggered something in them. Still, I encourage them to focus on what's already in their hands. I may not be able to tell them that God created them to use the gifts He's placed inside of them, but I never miss an opportunity to tell them that they were created to be great, and that they can do that by simply tapping into who they already are.

Way to go, Chef Destini!

I'm already looking forward to my dinner date with Chef Ederique at Destini's Cafe` one day in the very promising future.