The Lufkin ISD mentoring program is a group of about 22 young men ranging from fifth to eighth grade who participate in learning leadership skills and giving back. Dr. Daniel Spikes, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, along with Lufkin ISD Police Officer Paul Jackson co-founded the group with the help of local volunteers and businessmen who wanted to give back. One of those businessmen is Jeremy Torres a Lufkin ISD alumni and caterer. Catering isn’t his full-time job but he knows his way around a kitchen. He says some of that experience comes from participating in 4H when he was a kid.

“Jeremy reached out several weeks ago and said he would like to do something to give back,” Spikes said. “He has a catering business and he wanted to use his skills and resources in any way we could think of that would be helpful.”

Torres’ idea was to teach the young men how to cook and serve their families. And not just any meal, but chicken parmesan, asparagus, pasta, salad, garlic toast topped with prosciutto and cheese.

“I wanted the kids to give back to their families and eat something they haven’t eaten before,” said Torres.

And the students and their families loved it!

Torres reached out to Carpenter’s Way church to use their kitchen and Brookshire Brothers who gave a gift card that was used for spices to complete the meal with the rest supplied by Jeremy’s catering business.

“When Paul Jackson approached me with the mentorship idea this is what it’s about – exposing our students to different opportunities,” Spikes said. “They’re not going to like everything but just be exposed to it. This will give them more opportunity to find their niche or what they could be passionate about.”

Spikes was impressed on how some of the students already had skills in the kitchen.

“We have to give credit to the families,” he said. “We all recognized that some kids were handy around the kitchen. Some were naturals – we want the students to know it’s ok to enjoy cooking.

“The food was great! It was really good,” Spikes said. “What he did made it simple and easy even though it seemed complicated.”

In all there were 70-plus families who were served. Special thanks to Jeremy,  his family who were a big help especially Kaeden, and Paul Jackson and Nathan Kindell who were co-facilitators.