One of the unexpected results of the Streetsmart 4 Youth fundraiser to help homeless young people was the stories that were re
vealed. Community Foundation staff learned that the subject of youth homelessness in our community touched people in a personal and motivating manner.
We learned about restaurant owners who hire youth who have aged out of foster care and waitstaff who have experienced homelessness or who have been foster parents. Together with a community of generous diners they are engaged to help shine a light on this invisible population in our community.
Chef Maurice Afraimi, the owner of Naan and Kabab, is especially enthusiastic about promoting Streetsmart 4 Youth.
I have a special place in my heart for these kids. At one time, I was a drug addict and was a poor father during my children’s teen years. After I had got clean, I began working with teens who had aged out of foster care or who dropped out of high school by running the culinary school program at Job Corps in San Jose. Every year at the Job Corps graduation chefs from the best restaurants in town would be in my kitchen waiting to hire the graduates. Teaching these kids who were never exposed to a real sit down meal healed me. Sitting together at a table is family. It is the base for the community. It is a great blessing that my children are now living successful lives. I feel lucky. My heart goes out to these kids who may not have any parents, who need someone to care.
My customers love this fundraiser because I love it and enjoy talking with them about helping the kids. It is all about commitment.
There is nothing more human than helping another person.