LYNN — Edward Soriano is learning work and life skills in a Salem-based program called Root, and the success he shares with fellow students is paying off.
“We have made incredible strides this year with the help of our community partners and supporters,” said Root Executive Director Selvin Chambers. “Through our culinary arts training program, we are giving young people the tools they need to get on a path to success and independence.”
Root’s mission is to transform the lives of at-risk young adults ages 16 to 24 by teaching them quality work and important life skills through food service training so that they become employed and self-sufficient.
Root has raised $1.2 million toward its capital campaign this year, which includes a $500,000 grant from the Massachusetts Capital Skills Program, allowing it to purchase appliances for the professional-grade kitchen.
Soriano and fellow student Armani Osorio had the honor of introducing Gov. Charlie Baker during Root’s Nov. 30 second annual gala. Baker presented the Jennifer Eddy Community Leadership Award to Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll. The award, named after Root’s founder, is presented each year to an exceptional individual who exemplifies the true spirit of youth leadership and workforce development.
Chambers and Eddy, Root’s founder and president, spoke at the gala about Root’s accomplishments during the past year. Root ushered the first two classes of students into its culinary arts training program and completed construction of the Café at Root, the HarborPoint event space, and the professional kitchen and classroom.
The pair, in turn, received praise from Baker.
“Our skills capital grant program is a tremendous opportunity to boost the Massachusetts economy and develop students with marketable skills, knowledge and experience using state of the art equipment,” he said. “We are glad to partner with Root on a recent grant for important new equipment that will help provide participants with the requisite skills to meet the needs of the restaurant industry in Salem and across the North Shore.”