1893 Salsa Partners with True Knight Academy

Giving a SPECIAL Opportunity to SPECIAL Needs Young Adults

1893 Salsa’s founder, Suzanne Marquez, has always had a passion for giving back to the community, hence her first career as a pediatric nurse. Bringing that passion with her into the salsa world, she has kept an eye out for ways to help those in need, whether the need be due to less fortunate circumstances or simply due to limitations of some sort (financial, learning, economic).

Through an unexpected chain of events, Suzanne met the co-founder of True Knight Academy, Charlene Turner. True Knights Academy is a school for students with special needs and the academy seeks to empower students with special needs within a Christ-centered environment, giving them a greater purpose and the opportunity to reach their potential socially and academically.

While Suzanne was looking for a way to give back, Charlene was on her own quest. Special needs children grow up just like everyone else, yet when most people are beginning to extend their education by attending college, or are entering the work force, our special needs peers are hit with limited options as to what their next chapter in life looks like. Charlene had received several requests over the years to find a way that she could help her students continue on a better path after they age out of True Knight Academy.

As it turns out, both entrepreneurs could help each other, and 1893 Salsa partnered with True Knight Academy to bring a special opportunity to special needs teenagers and young adults. The two groups, with the help of a local church that provided a kitchen to call their own, are running a pilot (started in June, 2019, and will conclude the last week of July, 2019).

The pilot brings True Knight students, past students, and even special needs adults age 18-30 that did not attend True Knight, together with the 1893 Salsa team (primarily unpaid volunteers) to learn how to prepare, cook, and jar salsa.

The skills they are learning span from shopping for ingredients to cutting vegetables, mixing ingredients, cooking the salsa, jarring the salsa, and labeling the jars. While learning these skills the participants are learning how to use various kitchen utensils and tools correctly and safely, how to clean various areas in a kitchen, and how to ensure the entire kitchen is up to the required standards for preparing and producing an edible product.