Beyond Emancipation

GROW Oakland

GROW addresses the need for entry-level employment skills for current and former foster youth while also providing nutrition access and education to the community.

GROW engages, educates, and trains youth in personal health and wellness as they prepare for meaningful work in the culinary field.

The model is a seed to plate social enterprise that provides opportunities for current and former foster and probation youth to develop nutrition based health and wellness strategies and build skills and job experience in culinary arts, customer service, marketing and business planning and management.

GROW artisans making bbq in the kitchen

Healthy Living Workshops with Youth in Community Housing


An important component of independent living skills development, youth in B:E’s housing programs participate in workshops about food, health and culture. The workshops include hands on cooking demonstrations as well as education on how to reduce the sugar, salt and fat in our diets.

Home Based Community Gardens

With the support of Planting Justice, youth in B:E’s housing programs developed and now care for a home-based community garden(s) to grow the food that they prepare and eat in housing.

Gaining Resources and Opportunities for Work (GROW) Culinary Training Program

GROW Oakland is a 8-week culinary arts training program that provides a comprehensive introduction to the food service industry. Students enrolled in this training program participate in 192 hours of classroom instruction and culinary skills practice, work directly in established commercial kitchens as interns and are mentored by some of the East Bay’s most talented chefs. Successful graduates earn their California Food Handler Certificate of Achievement and are prepared for immediate work within the food service sector.

GROW graduation

GROW Oakland Partners

Partners include local culinary experts and businesses, community gardeners, and small business experts.

Tender Greens :

GROW artisan visiting local farmer's market

Funded by:

Oakland Fund for Children & Youth,  Clif Bar Family Foundation, Kaiser Permanete Community Benefit Program, Umqua Bank, & Western Digital

Participants can contact Virgile Nzali, GROW Coordinator at 510-667-7643 or with questions and to discuss eligibility.

Join Us

Believing in a young person can make all the difference. Every one of us can contribute to the quality and health of our communities by supporting young people from foster care as they become adults. Make a difference in young people's lives.

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