It’s Not Just A Job: Finding Your Passion Later In Life

When Michel’ei met the Co-founder, Jai Al-Attas, in 2017 she was 5 months out of prison and told him that her dream had always been to be a chef. She didn’t believe that she had the right to pursue her dreams. Her confidence was shattered by the barriers placed in her path. Often time, when formerly-incarcerated individuals are reintegrated in society, they face rejection due to the stigma of being system-involved. Michel’ei was also a mother during her incarceration which caused a strain on the family structure, in addition to the challenges she has to face in society.

Before we even had a name for our program, we placed Michel’ei with Chef Ella Freyinger for a 4 week paid traineeship in her commercial kitchen, and once she completed the program Michel’ei secured full time employment with Ella.

Michel’ei with her daughter Jazmyn and grandson

Since then Michel’ei has been providing exquisite culinary experiences for 2 years due to her commitment to believe in herself and the Creative Futures network for investing in the foundation of her dream.

We’re very proud of Michel’ei and the foundation that she helped us build with Creative Futures Collective.

The Numbers

  • Based upon their annual average, ex-offenders owe as much as 60% of their income in criminal debts. Unpaid criminal debts is the most common cause that leads to re-incarceration.
  • According to Mental Health America’s 2020 report, there are approximately 20 million people in the U.S. that identify as Asian-American/Pacific Islander. 15% of that 20 million people, equal to about 3 million people, reported having mental health concerns/issues in the past year.

The Action

The Narrative by Creative Futures Collective

Stories of lived experience, told by from those that have lived them

The Narrative by Creative Futures Collective

Stories of lived experience, told by those that have lived them. The Narrative by Creative Futures Collective is a platform for our Fellows to tell their stories, highlight their communities and flex their creative muscles.

Creative Futures Collective

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Unearthing the next generation of creative leaders from disenfranchised communities & empowering them to break cycles of systemic inequality.

The Narrative by Creative Futures Collective

Stories of lived experience, told by those that have lived them. The Narrative by Creative Futures Collective is a platform for our Fellows to tell their stories, highlight their communities and flex their creative muscles.