Using Culinary Arts to Develop Leadership Skills in Detroit's Youth

Jen Rusciano is a systems builder, co-founder, and executive director of the Detroit Food and Entrepreneurship Academy (DFA). Since 2011, DFA has provided young Detroiters (ages 10-24) with programs that utilize culinary arts and food entrepreneurship to inspire them to grow as leaders. DFA provides an opportunity for students to explore challenges first-hand, craft their solutions, and connect with support and mentorship from the thriving Detroit community, from classroom to kitchen and career.

DFA works with local educators, chefs, and business owners to inspire young Detroiters through entrepreneurial experiences rooted in food. These experiences open doors, create connections and cultivate confidence. From cooking delicious healthy meals for friends and family to facilitating complex conversations with the community to developing artisanal food projects from scratch to market, students learn by transforming their ideas into reality.

DFA uses the triple bottom line approach to entrepreneurship, which considers the business’s social, environmental, and economic impact. This approach teaches students to make a positive impact in their community while also generating profit. The organization believes it’s essential to foster a sense of entrepreneurship in young people, as it helps to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will benefit the rest of their lives.

Jen Rusciano and his team are dedicated to inspiring young Detroiters to become leaders and change-makers. They believe the power of culinary arts and food entrepreneurship can give young people the tools they need to impact their communities positively. Through DFA, they provide students with opportunities to explore, create, and innovate. They also provide them a safe space to learn, grow, and connect with others who share their passion for food and entrepreneurship.

Jen Rusciano and the Detroit Food and Entrepreneurship Academy are providing young Detroiters an opportunity to discover their potential, explore their passions, and develop the skills they need to become community leaders. Using the power of culinary arts and food entrepreneurship, they inspire the next generation of change-makers to impact the world positively.

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