They’ve spent months learning about all aspects of the hospitality industry under the tutelage of top industry pros and now the 50 students of Sir Bruno Serato’s Hospitality Academy will graduate from the program. Approximately 250 family members, friends, teachers and dignitaries will celebrate the completion of the program at a dinner prepared and served by the students all decked out in uniforms on Friday, May 12 from 3 – 5 p.m. at Christ Cathedral’s Cultural Center (13280 Garden Grove Blvd in Garden Grove). One of the highlights of the evening will be the presentation of $25,000 in scholarships — $15,000 by Caterina’s Club and $10,000 from Southern California Gas Company.
The Hospitality Academy is the result of a collaboration between Serato’s nonprofit, Caterina’s Club, and a program established by the Anaheim Union High School District called AIME (Anaheim’s Innovative Mentoring Experience). During the 12 weeks, these at-risk youth are introduced to careers in restaurants, hotels and other tourism related industries and offered hands-on training in food preparation, service, marketing, nutrition and customer service. They work directly with professionals in real-life settings to hone their skills.
“We are delighted to announce our latest graduates from the Hospitality Program and thrilled that So Cal Gas and Caterina’s Club will hand out scholarships that will brighten the futures of some special students,” said Serato.
Serato established Caterina’s Club, which is named for his beloved mother, after the 2 visited a local Boys and Girls Club and saw a 7-year-old boy eating a bag of potato chips. When Caterina learned that the snack was all he had for dinner, she instructed her son to head back to the restaurant and feed the children pasta. Today the nonprofit feeds some 2,250 children daily and well over 1 million meals have been served not only in Southern California, but Chicago, New York, Texas, Mexico and Italy. The nonprofit also moves “motel families” into permanent housing.
For his humanitarian work, Serato has earned international publicity including profiles in People Magazine, “CBS Evening News” and newspapers and magazines the world over. Among his many honors is being named a CNN Hero, being knighted by the Italian government, receiving a papal blessing from Pope Francis, getting a humanitarian award on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, and receiving numerous proclamations, Man of the Year awards and other forms of recognition — all of which he accepts to generate public awareness of the needs of our most vulnerable population – our children. For more information, visit www.caterinasclub.org