Onika Goodluck (O) is the owner of O’s Kitchen, the Kitchen Manager at All Square, and a mother of three. Onika’s Earn & Learn story began while she was on probation and had recently had a baby. Her probation officer wanted her to find a job and recommended both All Square and Sentencing to Service as possible opportunities. All Square is a grilled cheese restaurant which runs a fellowship for justice-impacted individuals. Not interested in the construction work offered through Sentencing to Service, Onika applied to be a Fellow at All Square and after two rounds of interviews was offered the job. She began slinging grilled cheese sandwiches while taking courses and attending therapy. The All Square Fellowship creates unique, individualized plans for each of its fellows. When O decided she may be interested in opening her own business, they worked with her to get signed up for entrepreneurship classes at the Neighborhood Development Center where she completed their program and worked one on one with her course director to hone her business plan.
After completing her one-year fellowship at All Square Onika was offered a permanent position as Kitchen Manager while she grows her catering business. O’s Kitchen began with a few pop-ups, assisted by All Square and then took off, only to take a major hit due to Covid-19. Now that we are emerging from a year of lockdown, O’s Kitchen is taking off a second time. Working both jobs while raising her kids keeps Onika busy and satisfied. At All Square Onika is working directly with the fellows who are walking the same path she did. Now she has the opportunity to offer a helping hand and walk that road again alongside the fellows. “When you come from the streets or are living in the streets you are always in survival mode” O said, but going through the fellowship showed her that she did not have to continue living with that mindset, and now she gets to share that with the current fellows as well.
For O, the most impactful part of the fellowship was the opportunity to enter therapy with Creative Kuponya. O’s sessions kept her grounded and helped her to keep her eye on her end goals. Doing so kept her focused on her mission and helped her keep up the hard work that would get her there. O never saw herself where she is today, feeling as though she needed to see it to believe it. With her strong sense of purpose, Onika is continuing to “keep trending north” as she continues to grow her business and raise her children with access to opportunities she did not receive when she was young. Through it all, O’s take away is that you can never give up on yourself. 10 years ago, Onika felt she was only trying to survive. Now, Onika can look back to see that her hard work has paid off. We can’t wait to see O’s Kitchen grow, we also can’t wait to try Onika’s cooking!
Take a look at and order from O’s Kitchen at: https://oskitchenmn.com/