For a long time Kronna Williams believed that dreams were made for other people—not him. As a child, his reality was one of poverty and drugs. Of hardship and struggle. Of ultimately being placed in a group home because there was nowhere else for him to go.
By the age of 14 he was living on the streets of Harlem, selling drugs to survive and battling his own addiction. “The first time I was incarcerated I was just 15 years old,” says Kronna. He would end up spending nearly half his life behind bars. “Each time I was in prison I always thought I’d just go back to selling drugs when I got out. I didn’t think I had any other options.”
That all changed when he heard about The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able program ten years ago. “It was a godsend,” Kronna says. “I knew I couldn’t continue down the same road. I knew I had to turn my life around. This was my chance. And I was determined to do it.”
It wasn’t long before Kronna began to realize that he did have options…that selling drugs wasn’t the only path before him. When it was time for him to select an occupational training program, the choice was clear: culinary arts. “Cooking is therapeutic to me,” he says. “I can remember watching my grandmother cook when I was very young. I was fascinated by the whole process…measuring ingredients, putting different flavors together. I love it. It’s a way to express myself and give back.”
Today, Kronna is giving back every day and expressing himself in each dish that he creates as the Executive Chef at our Peter Jay Sharp Center for Opportunity in Bushwick, Brooklyn. “The Doe Fund didn’t just help me find a job, they helped me find a career that I love. They helped me find confidence in myself and my abilities. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being here it’s that dreams can come true.”