Based in Kent, Project Feast is a nonprofit that provides refugees and immigrants with hands-on vocational training to gain a footing in Washington’s commercial food industry.
One of the many moving aspects of this story was watching Van Nguyen, Project Feast’s executive director, come full circle as she reflected on her own family’s escape from postwar Vietnam. She is too young to remember the details of her first days in America, but the volume of refugees needing help has been at times overwhelming.
Project Feast usually hosts multicultural groups, allowing apprentices to work alongside refugees and immigrants from different backgrounds and languages to further enrich the experience. An Afghan-only cohort of apprentices faced unique challenges, particularly their fairly recent shared trauma. Language barriers made training take longer than usual. Stress at home sometimes transferred into the classroom. For some, food triggered memories of home and forced separation from their loved ones. Nguyen and her fellow teachers established solutions on the fly, including a time-out space for students to take a mental health break to recover from emotion.
Read more at Crosscut.com.