Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Who We Are At HAVE
The HAVE Culinary Training Society is a culinary training school that provides food-service job training and work opportunities to individuals in Vancouver who experience barriers to employment. HAVE‘s students are youth and adults facing barriers that may include mental and physical disabilities, poverty, addiction, age, ESL and homelessness.

Our Philosophy
HAVE provides a community that transforms lives by empowering homeless and disadvantaged men, women, and families to achieve self-sufficiency through life skills, job training and employment in the foodservice industry.
​We empower each individual to achieve their highest potential by restoring hope, giving respect, nurturing self-confidence, granting trust, and creating opportunity.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society
H.A.V.E. ( Hope, Action, Values and Ethics ) is a non-profit and registered charity that provides culinary training for people with barriers to employment. Those barriers can and do include mental health and addiction, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, age and English as a second Language or anything that stops someone from competing on a level playing field with the rest of society.
Our comprehensive eight week program teaches students everything they will need to know to gain entry level employment in the Food and Restaurant Industry. Both our Chef Instructors are Certified Chef de Cuisines offer the student hands on training from their very first day and prepare the food for HAVE Cafe and our Catering Division. We also ensure that our students graduate with their Food Safe level 1 and that we help them find full time employment. Our placement rate is around 75%.
H.A.V.E. is a safe and inclusive environment where students not only receive culinary skills, we also concentrate equally on communication, life skills, social skills, goal setting and counselling. At H.A.V.E. we recognise that it takes a good deal more than a certificate and resume to get a job when you are trapped in the cycle of poverty. That is why every student receives individual attention and support to meet each of their specific needs and we continue that support after they complete our program for as long as they need it.
Our program is Monday to Friday and runs from 8:00 am. to 4:00 pm. We provide the uniforms, breakfast and lunch daily and bus tickets for those that live outside the down town core.
Since 2007 we have trained and found employment for over 700 individuals who were previously deemed unemployable. The H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society is committed to helping people help themselves through training and positive reinforcement.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Some things we do to help inclusion in our school are:

Motivational Plan

Some things we do to establish inclusion in our school are:
We teach people with all types of barriers including addiction, mental health, poverty, learning disabilities, age, and ESL, to name a few.
Most of our learners have fallen through the cracks; they have little self-confidence and have trust issues. They have built up walls and we need to break down these walls and build up their self-worth and self-confidence before they can begin to learn. There are many ways I use to achieve this; first I bring them in and show them with actions and words that they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it that we are there and will support them in any way we can. We have breakfast together every day to achieve a family feel to build up their comfort zone so learning can happen with positive group support.
Other things we do are:
  • Establish “ground rules”. Make sure that all students know what is expected of them while participating in the program. Make it clear that respecting all others means; culture, religious beliefs, gender identity, learning disabilities, addiction and mental health issues or any other barriers.
  • Encourage students to share their stories with the class. Who they are, where they come from, how they like to be addressed, etc.
  • Have an open door policy so that students know they can come to me and share in private.
  • Provide student counselling services.
  • Never make assumptions or generalizations about student’s ethnicity, gender identity or learning disability. No two persons from any one particular group are bound to be alike.
  • Provide soft skills training that includes sensitivity training, conflict resolution, communications skills and anger management.
  • Learning styles differ to that end I make my lessons and curriculum as flexible as possible.
  • Be proactive when trying to connect with individual students by asking if there is anything they need to make things more comfortable for them.

Some things we do to develop positive attitudes are:
  • Use a strength based approach in teaching. Take a student’s strong points and work from there. You will find that their weaknesses tend to improve.
  • Use lots of positive reinforcement. When they do well, praise them and when they struggle remind them of their previous triumphs. Make them feel valued.
  • Be a good example by always maintaining a positive attitude myself.
  • Teach students good self-care. Help them to develop a good mind, body, spirit routine.
  • Help senior students to mentor junior students and talk about how it feels good to help others.
  • Instil a sense of personal responsibility and accountability in all students. Hold myself and the students to practice and maintain high standards so that they feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction when they complete a task.
  • Help students to set realistic goals and achieve them.

Some things we do to enhance meaning for our students are:
  • Help students relate a personal experience to what they are learning. For example; get them to imagine who the people in the kitchen are when they go to eat in a restaurant. Do those people practice proper Food Safe procedures? Always imagine that you are preparing everything to your own standards if you were the customer.
  • Give students assignments that stimulate their curiosity.
  • Allow students from other cultures to prepare a meal from their home country.
  • Give students more than one option for assignments so they have the opportunity to choose something that appeals to them personally.
  • Give praise for things like punctuality and attendance.

Some things we do to engender competence in our students are:
  • Always make the students feel valued. For example; “The client will be very impressed with the canap├ęs you made for their catering order”. This allows the student to realize that their assignment is part of a bigger picture.
  • Help students to self-reflect on their finished product. Explain to them the knowledge they required to complete the task.
  • Help students to understand how the skills they are learning can be applicable to real life situations. For example; being a good team player is a sought after quality in any employee no matter what the job is.
  • Give lots of feedback. Let the students know how they are progressing even if they feel they are not.
  • Build upon the students learning experience and the learners lived experience.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

To continue on the theme of “Technology as a teaching tool”, podcasts have become very popular with students in postsecondary education. Many university students prefer it to lectures as they feel they can take in more information while using familiar devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops, as opposed to sitting in a large, crammed lecture hall with need to scramble to take notes. Studies reveal that students access YouTube and websites most often directly after live lectures and just prior to exams. Podcasts can be stored on phones, IPods, and other portable devices making them easily accessible and can be listened to over and over. Teachers find it to be a time saver as they can record a podcast or video from home, email the link to the entire class at the click of a mouse and cover a good deal of the course requirements while saving actual classroom time for interacting with students hands on, face to face. Podcasts are a great tool for students who need extended or remedial support. For auditory learners they are invaluable.

Once again, the questions that needs to be asked here is; Are we allowing technology to undermine the most important aspect of education: the student/teacher relationship? That relationship is the key to not only the learning process but also provides valuable mentorship, motivation and guidance in a very impersonal and fast paced online world. It is important to know how your students learn and retain information. My students are very visual/kinaesthetic learners. They may retain what they hear but are able to retain for longer after seeing and then repetitively performing the task at hand. A very high percentage of my students are homeless or living in shelters. Having IPods or smartphones is not a reality when most are trying to figure out how to find a few dollars for their next meal. Teaching people with multiple barriers requires a great deal of patience, empathy and insight. Building trust and nurturing relationships are key elements required for the process. As said earlier, many people with learning disabilities learn through repetition and need to be shown the task again and again in real time.

I feel that podcasts are a very useful tool for those with a heavy course load whether they are in high school or university. I can see that it is a time saver for both teacher and student when it comes to courses that require a great deal of reading. All the success I have had in teaching people with barriers has come through spending quality classroom time helping to understand a particular individual’s thought process in order to tailor my teaching style to meet their needs. I could use podcast or video lectures on cooking to deliver content before class and then use the time in class to practice said content.

To recap; I can certainly see the advantages of pod casts in traditional education. It is a highly accessible learning tool and frees up classroom time that would otherwise be spent covering material that they can get from podcasts and videos. It could make for an interesting assignment enabling students to develop new skills. As far as using podcasts or videos in my classroom, its use would be limited. What we need to keep in mind is that teaching people with multiple barriers requires a very tangible human interaction. It requires a teacher to improvise and adapt on a daily basis and to develop trust and build relationships with individuals who are naturally curious and yet inherently mistrustful of authority. All things considered podcasts and other social media don’t bring much to the table when it comes to teaching tools for people with barriers, one being poverty.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Customized teaching apps and cloud based technology in the classroom is a tool that looks like it’s here to stay. There are those who swear by it and those who feel it is invasive and impersonal. Post-secondary education has been forever changed by the internet as a research tool but customized teaching apps and cloud computing have yet to prove themselves in the classroom. On the one hand being able to use student data to personalize content for a student with dyslexia or ADHDA can only be seen as a boon to teaching people with barriers. According to Ashley Wainwright, marketing coordinator at Securedge Networks, there are more pros than cons:  http://www.securedgenetworks.com/strategy-blog/20-Pros-and-Cons-of-implementing-BYOD-in-schools
But consider this; when I use social media my personal information is sold to advertisers so that they can bombard me with advertising that directly relates to what I have been posting or viewing. All of us need to consider that educational apps are mostly designed and distributed by large corporations that most certainly have another agenda besides helping to personalize the learning experience. The last place I want to see corporate logos is in the classroom.
In the film Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise and based on the story by sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, there is a scene where Tom Cruise’s character is walking through a shopping mall and is inundated with personal holographic advertisements that refer to him by name. The ads are triggered by retinal scanners that reveal all his personal information. Although it's fiction, it’s not too far removed from the reality of today’s targeted internet advertising. Whenever you google something, post something on Facebook or Twitter or install an app on your phone, your personal interests are being used by advertisers to customize the content of what advertisements you receive - this scares me. It’s a fine line between invasion of privacy and clever marketing. Most people don’t bother to read the privacy policies when they install an app or sign up for a social media account. They simply skip that part like I did when I got my IPhone and click on “agree”, which gives the company free reign when it comes to selling your information to advertisers. You in turn are at the mercy of advertisers every time you turn on your device. Not only is this annoying, it begs the question, “is this even legal?” When it comes to using technology like customized teaching apps in the classroom, are you putting your student’s privacy at risk when you ask them to use this same technology? Is it somewhat morally ambiguous for a student to be writing an essay on say, censorship and be blasted with pop up ads for Westboro Baptist Church? Although freedom of speech applies to advertisers as well as it does to anyone else, shouldn't some things be ad free? Education certainly should be one of the places that we should not be subjected to the whims of corporate greed.

The case for technology in the classroom is a strong one, despite pop-up ads from fly by night on line universities. Using student data to customize teaching apps makes sense. If cloud based technology responds in real time to the activity of each user, the teacher can then customize the learning experience for each pupil. Agile and responsive custom learning apps can certainly be a helpful thing for teachers and students. If an app can take into account reading levels and analyse a person’s weak points then it’s much easier for the teacher to help that student learn in ways that make sense to them. Most importantly is finding ways to use new technology in the classroom without eroding the very personal and unique student teacher relationship, for which there is no substitute.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Recently I was asked:
“How does your perspective and Ideas on teaching and learning Influence your curriculum and development work?”
My perspective and ideas on teaching and learning influence my curriculum development work because of my own learning experiences.  When I was in elementary school I was passed on from grade to grade. I have dyslexia and the education system was not trained to recognize dyslexia so I was labelled stupid and/or lazy. It wasn't until grade 7 when my teacher Mr. Tony Rogers (whom I would love to thank today for literally saving my life) noticed I was not lazy or stupid and sent me for testing. I had to find creative ways to teach myself so that I could learn and retain what was being taught.  The traditional “cookie cutter” way of teaching did not register with me.
I now teach people with barriers from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, most having many barriers, not just one or two. I have to come up with very creative ways to help my learners so they can learn and retain what is being taught.  My experiences in the education system have allowed me to see how many ways there are to teach one subject. It has taught me that it is very important to keep in mind who your learners are, and how they learn when developing curriculums.
My objective is to make learning relevant for every lesson. When dealing with individuals with learning disabilities or other barriers it is extremely important to take into consideration that everyone learns differently. Of the 3 types of learning, Audio, Visual and Kinaesthetic, a high percentage of our students are very visual and also respond well to a hands-on kinaesthetic approach.  
I have to find creative ways to help them relate the lesson to something that they are already familiar with for example; we have an eight week basic cooking program that has to cover all aspects of breakfast cooking, our restaurant opens at 8 am so we don’t have a big breakfast business. At H.A.V.E. we feed our students breakfast and lunch every day. We use this opportunity to teach breakfast cookery.  One day I will teach over easy eggs I will show them how it is done and then each student will make their own eggs. The next day will be poached, and then basted etc. by the end of eight weeks they know everything about breakfast cooking.
Equally important is positive reinforcement. This is done by concentrating on a student’s strong points. Taking a person’s natural abilities and capitalizing on what will lead that individual to not only increase their self-esteem but I have also found that they tend to improve in their weaker areas as well. I remind my students on a daily basis of their previous positive outcomes when they are struggling with something new.
Although positive reinforcement is very important to the classroom environment there must also be a code of conduct that students and myself must adhere to in order for learning to take place. I ask senior students to be accountable and to be good examples for the newer students. I hold myself and my staff to these same standards so that students will not only have positive role models but also know that everyone is on a level playing field when it comes to learning.

I see potential in every student that comes through our door and I believe my duty as an educator is to foster that potential through positive reinforcement, a safe and inclusive learning environment and teaching in a manner consistent with helping each student see that same potential in them that I see.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

H.A.V.E. Fact Sheet

  • H.A.V.E. is non profit registered charity and social enterprise.
  • H.A.V.E. is an acronym for Hope, Action, Values and Ethics.
  • It was established in 2007
  • H.A.V.E. was co-founded by Amber Anderson-Executive Director/Executive Chef, Brad Mills-CEO of Mills Basics/Board Chair, Janice Mills-Accountant/Board member and Ian Tostenson-President of B.C. Food and Restaurant Association/ Board member (all Board positions are voluntary).
  • It’s purpose is to provide culinary training and job placement for people with barriers to employment.
  • Barriers include mental health and addiction issues, learning disabilities, English as a second language, physical disabilities, race, gender or anything that stops someone from competing on a level playing field  with the rest of society when it comes to training and employment.
  • Our job placement rate is 80%.
  • The biggest common denominator among our students is poverty.
  • H.A.V.E. is a true social enterprise. The definition of a social enterprise is; an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well being, rather than maximising profits for external shareholders.
  • We have a restaurant that is open to the public and all the food is prepared by the students. We also have a catering division that employs former H.A.V.E. graduates as catering cooks. All revenue generated by both the restaurant and the catering goes directly back into the organization to fund the program.
  • To date we have trained over 700 individuals, many of whom were in receipt of income assistance.
  • It costs the public $55,000 per person, per year to keep a person on income assistance.
  • Our program saves the provincial government roughly $3,300,000 per year (based on 60% of our students being in receipt of income assistance at the time of enrollment )
  • It costs H.A.V.E. roughly $3,500 ( true cost is closer to $5,000) to put one student through our eight week training program which includes, uniforms, breakfast and lunch daily, Food Safe level 1 certification, job placement and bus tickets to and from class.
  • There is no cost to the students.
  • Over half of all H.A.V.E. graduates since 2007 are still employed.
  • H.A.V.E. also operates the food program for Lookout Society’s North Vancouver Homeless shelter providing 165 meals per day, 7 days a week. H.A.V.E. also provides 120 meals a day, 7 days a week to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre. We cater to many other nonprofits including: Union Gospel Mission, ACCESS to Employment, and Vancouver Native Health, and many more.
  • Although H.A.V.E. and Mills Basics are two separate entities, Mills provides us with many in-kind services such as printing and marketing.
  • H.A.V.E. trains one hundred plus individuals a year, works with several agencies, finds employment for it’s graduates all over Vancouver and the lower mainland and operates a full time restaurant and catering company. While H.A.V.E. has a broad scope of services, it only has 6 full time employees. They are Amber Anderson-Executive Director/Chef, Lloyd McPhee-Chef Instructor, Glenda Phillips-Assistant Instructor, Christina Boliszczuk-Executive Assistant, Robert Jamieson-Front of House Manager and Glen Lamont-Student Counsellor/Job Developer. We also employ 6 full time catering cooks between 374 Powell and Lookout North Shore.
  • H.A.V.E. is the only program of it’s kind in British Columbia.
  • H.A.V.E. is passionately dedicated to helping others help themselves and to eradicating poverty and homelessness.