Our very own Chef Marisa Peña, Program Manager of Stone’s Throw, is the 2022 Catalyst Kitchens‘ “Catalyst for Change” award winner!
Chef Marisa rises to every new challenge – always performing with the utmost excellence, compassion, professionalism & style. She runs two adult sessions (fall & winter) for the Bread Line’s FREE culinary job training program, Stone’s Throw, at our soup kitchen.
Marisa works closely with community life skills coaches & local restaurants to enhance the learning experience of our students. She teaches in the classroom & the kitchen, alongside Chef Instructor Liann Peryea, while also holding space for students or graduates who just need to talk. In the summer, Chef Marisa leads a very popular culinary program inside the Fairbanks Youth Facility for the young people incarcerated there.
Chef Marisa’s methods increased post-graduation employment to an astonishing 85%! Early in the pandemic, she pivoted an active class to online, which allowed students in assisting living facilities (half of the class) the flexibility to continue lessons even during lockdowns. 100% of that class graduated & found employment. Chef Marisa connected our culinary program to the Literacy Council of Alaska, helping students achieve their GED, get resume assistance & build critical computer literacy skills during their coursework. She also connected with Fairbanks’ local disability/access organization, Access Alaska, which offers free kitchen skills to their participants. Presently, Chef Marisa is developing a whole new baking program to create opportunities for people with limited in-person availability (specifically working parents) & a barista program for young people coming out of incarceration. As you can see – this recognition is well deserved.