NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – The City of New Westminster and Dan’s Legacy are pleased to announce the launch of a new social enterprise, called Dan’s Diner, which offers at-risk youth an opportunity to gain valuable skills to help them succeed while providing local community members with affordable, nutritious meals. The project was allocated federal funding from the Building Safer Communities Fund, which is designed to decrease gun and gang violence among youth by providing supportive diversion programs.
“The City of New Westminster is committed to supporting the entire community by providing safe, inclusive environments. With the support of Dan’s Legacy and federal funding, Dan’s Diner provides a safe space where life skills can be learned while peer and mental health supports are available to help keep youth out of gang life," said Mayor Patrick Johnstone. "The program will also have a ripple affect of benefiting the wider community with affordable meals at a time when many families are struggling to afford food.”
Gangs attract vulnerable youth by offering them a sense of security and belonging that is otherwise missing in their life; young people don’t recognize the violence and instability inherent in gang association until it’s too late. Dan’s Diner offers at-risk youth a safe alternative to gangs; a clinically-supported, stable environment in which to build their self-esteem and receive food service industry training and paid work experience alongside their peers. The job and life skills that program participants gain will empower them to build meaningful careers.
Dan’s Diner is an evolution of Dan's Legacy's Intro to Cook program, which ran successfully for over two years. Of the 46 Intro to Cook graduates, the majority transitioned into the workforce or higher training for Red Seal certification; the remainder continue to benefit from the support of Dan’s Legacy’s no-fee counselling program.
“The young people participating in Dan’s Diner have limited access to post-secondary educational or trades training opportunities due to significant childhood trauma and mental health challenges. Thanks to support from the City of New Westminster and funding from the federal government, we’re able to offer these youth a program that not only provides marketable job training, but also the invaluable support of a team of therapists, social workers, and outreach workers,” says Barbara Coates, Executive Director of Dan’s Legacy.
Dan’s Diner is supplied by donated surplus food. Under the direction of professional chefs, trainees learn how to repurpose these ingredients into pre-packed soups, stews, and curries. Service training is conducted out of Dan’s Diner, where the meals are available for sale to the public starting today. Dan’s Diner is located in New Westminster at 150 - 131 11th Street, and is open weekdays (except statutory holidays) from noon to 5:00 pm.
The public are invited to attend a grand opening celebration for Dan’s Diner on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 11:00 am, at the facility. For more details, visit: newwestcity.ca/calendar-of-events/events/7450.php
Dan’s Legacy provides no-fee therapeutic counselling and life-skills intervention programs to youth affected by trauma-based mental health and addictions issues. In the past year, Dan’s Legacy helped over 600 youth stabilize and begin working towards their educational, employment, and recovery goals. Learn more at danslegacy.com.