WE ARE LA COCINA
Our Mission is to use the power of food to create social and economic change in low-income communities.
We believe that unemployment, obesity, diabetes, and food waste are problems that we can start to solve in sustainable ways by designing and implementing innovative programs to help disadvantaged members of minority groups. La Cocina VA is here to help.
We have gathered a group of professionals, experts in social issues and development effectiveness, as well as chefs, social workers, nutritionists, and experts in business development, all big dreamers who believe that integrating minorities in this journey will make a difference in our community.
Patricia was inspired by the efforts, resources, and infrastructure that multilateral organizations in the United States invest to help solve social issues and improve the lives of those in the developing world. With this in mind, she founded La Cocina VA to combat unemployment, hunger, obesity, and food waste in her local community. Her vision is to empower diversity groups and immigrants as agents of social and economic change by using food as a tool to transform lives.
Patricia garnered support across sectors from chefs, social works, nutritionists, doctors, and professional experts in development. With their help, La Cocina VA programs were created:
Bilingual Culinary Jobs Training Program
Food Assistance Program
On December of 2013 the IRS approves La Cocina VA nonprofit status and provides a 501 (c)(3) Tax Exempt authorization to start raising funds to support the launch of the programs.
After months of fundraising efforts, partnerships signed with Northern Virginia Community College Workforce Development and with other local nonprofits, we identified the first group of clients and on September of 2014 La Cocina VA opened its doors for the first time.
First funders that supported La Cocina VA were the Meyer Foundation, Arlington Community Foundation and Mount Olivet of the United Methodist Church that offered in-kind use of its facilities in Arlington, Virginia.
During this year we were able to implement a one-month-paid internship at employer partners to be offered to the students that finish training.
Since founding, many more organizations from different sectors have joined our efforts and to date we have graduated 47 students with 95% of completion rate, 70% of job placement and 78% of retention rate over one year from placement.
We have also expanded our services to other immigrant communities, finalizing in December of 2016 a course offered in English to women from the Middle East. This pilot program has successfully finished and job placement efforts are in place.
With the help of local businesses and nonprofits, we have designed programs that work to fill the gap between poverty and development. La Cocina VA can help to complete the circle of change.
- We offer a program that provides unemployed individuals with job training, culinary certification, and job placement services. Learn more about our Bilingual Culinary Training Program.
- We have designed a sustainable food assistance program that takes the meals cooked by the students in our Training Program and donates them daily to low income families and individuals in the area. Learn more about our Food Assistance Program.
La Cocina VA was created to contribute to individual and community well-being. We believe in each individual’s potential to achieve success and improve their lives. We believe in transformational change that, if done properly, creates new, previously out-of-reach opportunities for communities from the ground up.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King