Drive Change Teams Up With The Snowday Food Truck To Help Formerly Incarcerated Youth

Jordyn Lexton's non-profit organization helps formerly Incarcerated youth.

Non-profit organization Drive Change hires young people recently released from prison to operate a food truck. Young offenders typically struggle, being branded with the label of ‘criminal’ and therefore more likely to end up back in prison than to find successful work, upon release.  Founder Jordyn Lexton talked about the mission of the organization, “We hire, teach and empower young people who are coming home from the criminal justice system.”

Snowday Food Truck

Fellowship participants for Drive Change work on the Snowday food truck.

The Snowday food truck is known for their maple syrup drizzled grilled cheese sandwiches and other made from scratch dishes. Young people from age 17 to age 25 are offered a year-long paid fellowship paying $9 an hour during their orientation process, and acquire their food handler and safety licenses. Upon certification, the fellows can get paid $11 an hour as they take on various food truck jobs – such as being the head chef or cashier – and attend courses for small media development and money management.

The fellows continue their studies while working at another restaurant, though Drive Change still funds their work time. Ultimately, completing the fellowship opens a plethora of doors for these young people who may have otherwise found it impossible to find a job, let alone a career. Frederick Coleman, for instance, was able to find work as a line cook for the Reynard restaurant in Brooklyn, subsequent to his completion of the fellowship.

Lexton, a gender-neutral individual who worked as an English teacher in the Rikers Island jail, knew a change had to be made as they watched students get released and then return to jail almost cyclically.  Lexton told New York Daily News, “I witnessed a system that did not do much to help young people rehabilitate.  One of the few places in the jail where my students were really happy was in the culinary arts class, with the power of teamwork, camaraderie and a shared meal.”

Fellowship participants working on the Snowday food truck.

Fellowship participants working on the Snowday food truck. (source)

Snow Day will be traveling all around New York City this summer, with the food truck workers talking about the program to their customers. Donations can be made to the Drive Change organization here.

Photo source.

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