SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diegans with troubled pasts are transforming their lives in the kitchen.
On Friday, they graduated from the Kitchens for Good program. Some students have been in and out of jail; others are transitioning from the foster care system or have battled mental health and substance abuse issues.
"It's something I wanted to do my whole life, I love feeding people and making them feel good through my food," said Soni Shine, now a teacher in the program.
Shine graduated last year and says the program gave her a second chance.
"For the last ten years, I've been in and out of jail, I was dealing with drug addiction and homelessness."
Now she's earned her apprenticeship certificate and is a mentor for others. Shine says loved ones, including her sister, cheered her on along the way.
"She tells me all the time, God has not brought me this far just to leave me!" said Shine.
To make it on Friday's stage, students completed an intensive 12-week culinary job training program. It's a first look at understanding the tuition-free, 20-month certified culinary apprenticeship program that Kitchens for Good offers.
"They told me about this program, I came here, and I haven't left since!" said Shine.