The ARCHS' Culinary Reentry Community Partnership is once again setting the table to provide ex-offenders the chance to cook up a new life path. Three weeks are left in the partnership class, and all 10 participants hope to graduate and enter the workforce with a valuable skill.

ARCHS’ ongoing partnership with St. Louis Community College provides participants with a fresh knowledge of preparation, cooking, sanitation, safety and much more. The class is five days a week.

“I told them at the start of the class they should take advantage of the opportunity,” said Chef David Green, who teaches the culinary class. “Each one of them has someone close to them who are counting on them. I know they all can make an impact on the industry.”

That feeling is mutual for Michelle Monroe, who considers the class as a way to better the life of her family, which includes a husband and three children.

“I consider myself a good cook, and this was an opportunity not to pass up on,” Monroe said. “I couldn’t find a job, and this is something to do to learn a new trade.”

Participant Damon Brady hopes to turn his passion for cooking into a potential career.

“The class is giving me better insight into cooking, and hopefully a better job opportunity,” Brady said.

ARCHS was recently awarded $265,944 from the U.S. Dept. of Justice via Second Chance Act funding to begin a new mentoring program in conjunction with the Missouri Dept. of Corrections. ARCHS is one of the first organizations in America to receive second chance act funds, and the only organization in Missouri to do so.