RISE seeking local chefs, students to participate in new program

Teacher Helping Students Training To Work In Catering
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The Winters RISE, Inc. office is launching a new after school program focusing on teaching students how to cook and be creative in the kitchen.

Brandon Villegas, Mental Wellness Specialist, said that the Duel Fuel program is open to middle school and high school students who attend school in the Winters Joint Unified School District or who reside in the Winters community.

Duel Fuel is one of three new after school programs that RISE, Inc. is offering at the Winters location to give students a place to gather, learn how to utilize their strengths, receive emotional wellness support and to provide an after school activity.

Villegas said the inspiration for the program came from his own experience as a college student. He said that he used to watch a lot of cooking shows and learned how to transform many dishes in his kitchen.

“I know that if students eat well, they’re happy. What if I brought it back and taught them how to cook,” Villegas said.

Villegas plans on teaching students some of the dishes he already has. He also plans to utilize the Eat Well Yolo food distribution to show students how to think out of the box with different fresh product.

“Using food from the food distribution and implement it in our cooking to show them ‘this is food that RISE provides for free. Here’s what you can do with it. I’m going to show you how to craft it,’” Villegas said.

Villegas said food and full stomaches have already been proven to bring happiness. He hopes students who participate will not only feel happy from the food that they cook, but will also bring a feeling of self worth from their efforts.

Villegas also plans to reach out to local chefs in the community. His goal is to bring in local professional chefs who would be open to talking to the students about creating dishes, presenting a recipe or more about how they became a chef, and possibly cook with the students and show them some basic skills and a recipe they can make at home.

In addition to cooking, students will also find out what their strengths are utilizing the StrengthsExplorer program. StrengthsExplorer is designed to help youth identify their strengths and how to utilize them and put them into action. They also learn to identify others’ strengths and how to communicate and work with them.

Local chefs who are interested in participating can reach out to Villegas directly at brandon@riseinc.org or can call 530-794-6000.

RISE has implemented COVID guidelines into how the program will run. 

Students officially begin on Sept. 27. Villegas said that although there are limited spaces available in the Duel Fuel program, they are still accepting applications. The program will run on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., and on Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

To apply, drop by the Winters RISE office at 200 Baker Street to pick up an enrollment packet.

Duel Fuel is just one of three new programs that RISE is launching for Winters youth. The nonprofit also plan to launch a Girls Groups and Darts program to bring more after school opportunities to town.

For updates follow the RISE Esparto-Winters Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/risewinters.esparto.

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