Eight Reconcilers Honored at 2020 Graduation

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Reconcile New Orleans honored eight young people at its 2020 Graduation Ceremony.

Congratulations to the following graduates:

Jesus – Class 6 2019

Clarence – Class 6 2019

Dorian Jones – Class 5 2019

Ty’kia – Class 4 2019

Ariane – Class 1 2020

Johnell – Class 6 2019

Caleb – Class 6 2019

Deon – Class 4 2019

2020 End of Year Campaign

The story of Reconcile is the story of young people – young people chasing dreams.

For 20 years, Reconcile has been more than a Café.  It’s more than five stories on a historic street. Reconcile is a family – and you are a part of us. Unlike any year prior, our Alumni and Interns need you to keep believing in their abilities.

2020 has presented unimaginable challenges and like you, our young people are scared. For as long as they need us, the five floors at 1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd will be here for them. But it’s going to take champions – you, our Reconcile family – to get us there. 

You can make dreams a possibility again. Make your 2020 year end contribution today.

Together, WE are RECONCILE.

The Story of Young People

For 20 years, Café Reconcile has called 1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd our home. The look and feel of what happens here has changed a lot over the years. But one thing remains a constant – your support of young people chasing dreams. Meet our young people and see the impact your support is having on their lives. 

Ronné is working full-time at Picnic Provisions and Whiskey, but this job did not come easy. She was unemployed for 152 days.
Chris is a 2010 alumnus. He has been a member of the Reconcile family for 10 years. Chris is also a current board member.
Faith’s counseling helps her feel safe and stable. She counts on Reconcile to keep her connected. That’s 1,460 days of keeping in touch.

So Far This Year…

Reconcile Distributes 1,000 Meals to Voters at Polling Sites

Café Reconcile Closed on Election Day for Interns and Staff to Participate in the Voting Process

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 3, 2020 — Café Reconcile was closed for dine-in and take-out services on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, to ensure interns and staff can cast their votes. However, while the café was closed, a volunteer team of Reconcile staff and alumni, who tackled their own voting first, spent the day distributing a total of 1,000 free meals and bottled water at nine New Orleans polling locations as voters participated in local and national elections.

The distribution of meals began at 11 a.m. at the Dryades YMCA and at each of the following polling places until approximately 1:30 p.m.

Dryades YMCA 2200 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard (70113)  NOFD Engine House #27 2118 Elysian Fields Avenue (70117)  
Edna Karr High School 3332 Huntlee Drive (70131)  Phillis Wheatley Community School 2300 Dumaine Street (70119)  
Alice M. Harte Elementary School 5300 Berkley Drive (70131)  Asia Baptist Church 1400 Sere Street (70122)  
Dolores T. Aaron Academy 10200 Curran Boulevard (70127)  New Zion Baptist Church 2319 Third Street (70113)  
 St. David Catholic Church 5617 St. Claude Avenue (70117)  

“Many voters have to work more than one job to make ends meet and support their families. They may not vote for fear of not making their shift on time,” said Gerald Duhon, Executive Director of Reconcile New Orleans. “That shouldn’t be the case.  Voting is an important part of our democracy and one that should be easy to access. By closing our doors on Election Day, Reconcile wants show our community that we believe voting matters.”

The decision to close Café Reconcile on Election Day was an easy one. As a workforce development organization that makes professional development a priority, Reconcile has made it a point to understand how race, the workforce, and elections impact our community. 

“Long lines are anticipated, and many voters will use their lunch hour to cast their votes,” added Duhon. “Reconcile’s volunteer team of staff and alumni want to support those who are participating in the voting process in a way that is true to our Café Reconcile mission – providing a free jambalaya lunch and water.” A total of 1,000 free meals and bottled water will be distributed.

Café Reconcile will reopen for dine-in and take-out service on Wednesday, November 4 from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Visit www.cafereconcile.org for Café Reconcile’s daily menu and to learn about Holiday Catering.

Our Civic Duty: Reconcile Closed on Election Day

Practicing Our Civic Duty
Reconcile to Close Election Day, Tuesday, November 3

To become a more racially equitable organization, Reconcile will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3, for Election Day. Closing the building will ensure all staff have the opportunity to vote and practice their civic duty.

A team of staff and alumni – who’ve tackled their own voting first – will spend the day volunteering at various voting centers, passing out food and water to locations that will certainly have long lines and anxious voters engaged in their civic process.

The decision to close is an easy one. Reconcile is one team and one heartbeat. As a workforce development organization that makes professional development a priority, we have made it a point to open our eyes to the conflicted world around us. Staff have been working with racial equity consultant Claire Minson, Founder & Principal at Sandra Grace, LLC and Vera Foundation to understand how race, the workforce, and elections impact our community. 

A key take away?  Hourly workers, many of which have more than one job to make ends meet, often don’t vote for fear of not making their shift on time. Many of Reconcile’s young people work hourly jobs to support their families. By closing our doors on Election Day, Reconcile wants to show the community that we believe voting matters. Giving employees the opportunity to vote without concern of losing their job is important. This election season, we have helped Alumni get registered to vote and tomorrow we will support our community while they are out in action. 

The Café will be back up and running Wednesday through Friday. Stop by to enjoy a tasty meal and meet our current cohort of Interns to ask them what voting felt like on Election Day. 

Most importantly, we invite you to join Reconcile New Orleans on Tuesday to practice your civic duty and vote!

Together, WE ARE RECONCILE.

To Teach, One Must Learn

In order to teach, one must first learn.

Dorian, a 2019 Alumnus, is a perfect example. At the start of 2019, he realized that he needed more guidance and worked hard everyday to find it. Upon completing an Intern application, he found that guidance in Café Reconcile. 

Eight weeks later, he found more than just guidance. He gained confidence, improved communication skills, and learned the importance of punctuality.

A few months later, Dorian realized the Reconcile Intern application was simply the first of many applications that he would fill out over the next few years. His second application—to teach at Pierre A. Capdau Charter School in New Orleans—led to an interview. And so his journey continues. 

Dorian recently stopped by the Café to celebrate his new job teaching at Capdau Charter School. He met with us to share his story and express how the confidence he gained at Reconcile helps him every time he teaches young people, although during the pandemic he finds himself behind a laptop more than in front a classroom of students. 

“I do preach [to my students] some of the rules from Reconcile,” Dorian said. “Especially being on time, because I used to be late when I was younger. My advice to my students and the current Reconcile Interns is to be grateful for the staff.”

WATCH THE REST OF DORIAN’S ALUMNI REFLECTION

Dorian took advantage of gift card and meal distribution events that helped Alumni bridge the gap formed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He considers Reconcile to be a resource that lasts forever.

You provide the resources that help our young people succeed. The tools we use—laptops, projectors, notebooks, desks, and many other basic learning materials—are not taken for granted. You help fund the weekly text messages sent to our Alumni. These texts alert Alumni of job opportunities, training workshops, and financial aid.

Thanks to you, Alumni can bounce back into work and use their Reconcile experience to help others learn, grow, and chase dreams. 

Will you support Alumni who are looking for work? 
If so, click the ‘Donate’ button below.

Chris Okorie, 2010 Alumnus

Chris Okorie is a man, transformed.

Feature Article on Okorie Posted June 6, 2016 by International Culinary Center :

Back in 2009, he was an aimless teenager. Unable to find work after returning to post-Katrina New Orleans, he spent most of his days shooting dice on the corner with friends. One afternoon, a passerby, annoyed by their game, told them about Café Reconcile, a nonprofit restaurant that serves as a training ground for students seeking jobs in the food industry. Chris was nonplussed, until a friend enrolled and found a job. He reconsidered and successfully completed Café Reconcile in 2010.

He never gave more education a thought until the program director told him about The Chef’s Move scholarship which provides a full tuition to the International Culinary Center. He applied and won.  Though Chris was excited by such an amazing opportunity, he was torn. His grandmother, Marilyn, a powerful influence, was in precarious health. She would have none of it and insisted he go. In 2012, he moved to NYC to enroll.

More than the obvious benefits of studying at one of the world’s best culinary schools, Chris found ICC instilled a thirst for knowledge. “Before the scholarship, I didn’t want to learn beyond what I needed for my job, but the chef-instructors really inspired me. There is still so much I want to learn. Right now, I’m reading The Flavor Bible, Marco Pierre White and Chemistry for Dummies because cooking is basically a big chemistry set.”

Another powerful lesson was the critical importance of teamwork. In New Orleans, the kitchens he knew were much smaller; each person could work in isolation and get the job done. Not so at ICC. What started as a group of strangers soon became much more. “At first, the class was quiet, no talking. Then level by level we became closer and closer and then worked side by side. Trusting people and working as a team was the most valuable lesson. You have to have their back and they have to have yours.“

There were low moments, to be sure. His grandmother passed away before he finished the program, but Chris persevered and went on to win a three-week fellowship in Italy.  “I’m fortunate. Food found me.” He’s been featured in Essencemagazine and on NPR and is currently working at John Besh’s Restaurant, August. His advice to those considering the industry is straightforward and real. “There are lots of rewards, but it’s not so glamorous in the beginning. Learn as much as you can. That’s my everyday goal.”

Holiday Catering Menu 2020

You Give Hope to Eminie and Tyrek

You create opportunities for young people
when opportunities were not always there.

Thanks to YOU, Reconcile’s 2020 Class 3 Interns are developing a sense of ownership at 1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. The time they spend within these walls is precious. They cherish it, and you make it possible. If one thing is certain, it’s that time is not of endless supply. However, you create endless opportunities for our young people as they continue to learn, grow, and chase dreams in the midst of a pandemic.

Reconcile is a safe space for young people to practice both foundational and culinary skills. Our family atmosphere allows them to open up, breathe easy, and reflect peacefully on their goals. In the blink of an eye, they are taking ownership of their roles in the Café. The best part, they are seeing results from the curriculum and training they receive at Reconcile.

New Interns like Eminie and Tyrek are setting a precedent for future Interns that will follow in their footsteps — never giving up and taking advantage of the opportunities in front of them.

You provide bus tokens, uniforms, and meals so Interns can learn and train at 9 a.m. without worry of early-morning obstacles. You create field experiences or site visits to a partner organizations to inspire young people on their journey. And your help has purchased plexi-glass barriers, PPE, and Chromebooks to improve safe environments for learning. 

Thanks to you, Reconcile Interns can seize the moment and take on opportunities at their fingertips.

Will you continue to be there for them?  
If so, please click the ‘Donate’ button below.

“I Chose Reconcile Because…”

Reconcile exists to help those who are seeking change…when hope is not always there.

Thanks to YOU, Reconcile’s 2020 Class 3 Interns are seeking more than just change. Through your support, Interns are tackling all the same valuable life skills and workforce training offered to the young people who came before them. After just two short weeks, Interns are jumping into the workflow of the Café. Their recipe is 1) Set a Goal, 2) Do the Work, and 3) Chase Your Dream.

Reconcile is a safe space for young people to practice both foundational and culinary skills. Our family atmosphere also allows them to open up, breathe easy, and reflect peacefully on their goals. And in the blink of an eye, they are doing the work! 

What makes Reconcile great is that we don’t tell our Interns what to do. With care and sensitivity, we support them through their decision-making process.

New Interns like Missy and Larenzo are setting a precedent for future Interns that will follow in their footsteps — never giving up and taking advantage of the opportunities in front of them.

Your support has created the resources to modify Reconcile’s occupational training to be pandemic-safe. Your help has purchased plexi-glass barriers, PPE, and Chromebooks to improve technological learning. 

Thanks to you, Reconcile Interns can set goals, do the work, and, with your help, CHASE DREAMS!

Will you be there for them?  
If so, click the ‘Donate’ button below.

Restaurant Week Menu 2020