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Villarberg is a Father Joe’s Villages’ program participant and lives in East Village. 

I came to Father Joe’s Villages by accident. My original plan was to go to Los Angeles, but God had other plans for me. Before I could carry out my big ambitions of making big in the City of Angels as an author and artist, I had to prove myself in America’s Finest City first.

I didn’t know at the time, but I had to reconnect with my family before I could proceed with the rest of my life. And I had to do it with my feet firmly placed in a shelter? That’s the thing, most people think of a homeless street person in the stereotype of grime, filth and unmanaged hair. But that’s because we tend to drive by them in our car while living a sheltered life. That’s the beauty of Father Joe’s Villages, it’s more than a shelter, it’s transitional living. I like to think of it as a hybrid between a private theological campus and an international hostel. With so many different fields of study, I couldn’t make up my mind which one would suit me the best.

I ended up picking the culinary arts program, mostly because I knew in the back of my mind that I would need the education of working in a commercial kitchen if I was ever to realize my other ambition of setting up an organization that would help feed large amounts of hungry people. But getting there, to the culinary arts program with chef Helen Coyne, took some time. Read more at the link below. 

Opinion: Ending up at Father Joe’s led me to culinary arts – The San Diego Union-Tribune (