GAP Ministries provides second chances through training programs

Posted at 10:35 AM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 12:12:35-05

Every month Give Local Tucson spotlights an organization that makes our hometown a better place.

The organization featured for March is GAP Ministries

The exposure in the form of features, television, and radio adds up to more than $1,500,000 through the year.

In the GAP kitchen students can cook up more than just lunch. For Adam Rose, it was a place to turn his life around. 

"I was incarcerated for six and a half years total and then I didn't know what I was going to do when I got out," Rose said. "And somebody had set me up here at GAP Ministries to go through the culinary training program."

The 10-week course run by the non-profit serves as a training ground for young people aging out of the foster care system or those, like Rose, who need a second chance. The certification program includes some classroom work and hands-on training in the kitchen.

Rose says it can be extremely difficult to get back on your feet after spending time behind bars. He graduated from the culinary program last year. After got a job at a local restaurant, he went back to GAP to work alongside Executive Chef John Hohn and give back.

"I came here with not knowing what it was and needing hope, and I was given that," Rose said. "And I was given grace and I was shown that there is a way to succeed."

Recently GAP Ministries started a new program at the GAP Garage. For more than three years mechanics at the garage have been servicing the fleet of GAP vehicles and others in the community. Now it is home to a course similar to the culinary school.

The shop foreman Aiden Collins has been working with the organization for five years. He says his program is starting off small with three students and eventually he hopes it will grow.

"It's really just people that need second chances -- young adults, men, women," Collins said. "We teach them the fundamentals. Anything from basic oil changes all the way up to just in-depth diagnostic stuff."

Collins gives his students the skills they need to find jobs in the automotive industry. Everybody has a story, he says, and learning about others and working as a mentor is a big part of this.

"If you're able to impact a person, I believe you can change their family tree," Collins said. "And I think by changing their family tree you're able to shift a culture, and then by shifting the culture that impacts the city. And we all want to see the city changed and go in a better direction."

Last year GAP Ministries says 19 students graduated from the culinary program and they all found jobs at restaurants including Wildflower and Charro Steak. Trainees also learn life skills through grief counseling and financial courses.