Cashius W. is one of those rare individuals whom everyone feels good to be around.
A rangy 15 year old with a winning smile, Cashius has become a vital member of his Northern California community. When he moved to the community at age nine, his mother immediately enrolled him in the LifeSTEPS after school program.
“I got to know people real fast,” he says. “The after school program is great because it’s a safe place where I could be with my friends. Everybody gets along…there was no bullying or any of that going on there.”
As he got older, Cashius became a steadfast volunteer in the community, helping with the Summer Lunch Program, Bingo parties, and attending regularly at resident meetings. “This is a really close-knit community. We look out for and help one another.”
At 15, Cashius is very clear about what he wants to do with his life: become a chef. This career path was solidified when he, along with fellow community member Tasiya O., were asked to teach other children and youth in the community how to cook simple meals through a program sponsored on-site by LifeSTEPS. Cashius was so popular that parents from other nearby communities have asked if the class was going to be offered again, and if he was going to be an instructor.
“I love to cook, and it was really fun teaching others.” Through the program Cashius was befriended by Adrian Day-Murchison, chef for Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. She would provide Cashius with some basic cooking gear, along with some “fun recipes to try.”
When asked how he learned to cook, Cashius said, “I’m mostly self-taught. I read a lot of books and watch the The Food Network. And my mother and grandmother have taught me a lot, too.”
Upon graduation he wants to attend Le Cordon Bleu and continue his quest to become a professional chef.
“I don’t want an office job or anything like that. Cooking is fun and I’d like to make it my career.” Smart, self-directed and community-minded, there’s no doubt Cashius will succeed!