The legacy of the late Rev. Leon H. Sullivan is one that we, as a city and a country, are incredibly proud of. Because of the vision of the pastor of Zion Baptist Church known as “The Lion of Zion,” the great humanitarian and founder of Opportunities Industrialization Center Inc. (OIC); the OIC family celebrated “48 Years of Helping People Help Themselves.” The Black-tie reception and dinner program was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Saturday.
According to the Rev. Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, “Sullivan founded the very first Opportunities Industrialization Center in 1964. The OIC provided job and life skills training and matched its graduates up with the employment needs of Philadelphia businesses. The undertaking was a huge success, and the programs were replicated in cities across the United States. In 1969, OIC International was created to provide employment-training services on a global scale.”
President and CEO of Philadelphia OIC Inc., Robert “Bob” C. Nelson, said, “The vision, commitment and work of Rev. Leon H. Sullivan continue to impact the lives of people in Philadelphia and throughout the world. We come together each year to acknowledge this history and celebrate the successes of our graduates. Nelson has worked diligently for the organization for more than four decades.
Kristol Bryant, an accomplished chef and graduate of the Philadelphia OIC’s Opportunities Inn Program, was the 2012 ARAMARK/ SFS (Strother’s Food Service) Award recipient. Chef Bryant’s mother, Barbara Bryant, and attendees looked on proudly as David Bianco, ARAMARK general manager and Natasha Strothers, executive vice president of Strothers Food Service, presented her with the award for her distinguished achievements in culinary arts.
Kristol began her professional career began shortly after graduating from William Penn High School in 1997. Initially, she wanted to attend college but the demands of being a young mother made her rethink her goals. In 1999, she was accepted into the OIC Hospitality Inn Program where she felt that she could turn her love of cooking into a career. With determination and talent, Kristol achieved her goal.
She ultimately finished at the top of her class and represented OIC at the “Book and the Cook” Rising Star event, which featured star culinary arts students from Philadelphia.
In the beginning of 2012, she achieved her greatest professional milestone to date when she was named the Chef de Cuisine of the restaurant that she helped open. As Chef de Cuisine of XIX, Kristol handles all the managerial and creative duties of a close to four million dollar a year restaurant in the highly competitive Philadelphia restaurant scene.
The OIC’s Opportunities Inn Program is extraordinarily proud of Kristol, the person and the professional. Kristol is the embodiment of OIC’s mission.
Other highlights of the inspiring, enjoyable evening included a warm welcome and remarks by William Carter III, chairman of the OIC board of directors. Kevin Dow, chief operating officer of the Philadelphia Department of Commerce offered best wishes and support of Philadelphia OIC on behalf of Mayor Michael Nutter.
OIC has maintained its effective, institutional presence in Philadelphia with the ongoing support of local businesses, churches, other CBOs and the community-at-large. They are especially appreciative for the funding and support of companies such as PECO, ARAMARK SFS, PRWT, Quality Community Health Services, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority.
Bob Nelson shared that OIC wants to expand their board of directors to help meet the challenge of decreases in funding for much needed programs such as OIC.
For more information about Philadelphia OIC, 1231 N. Broad St., and all of its training programs, call (215) 236-7700 or visit www.phildelphiaoic.org.
Congratulations and continued success to the OIC family!
Have a fantastic week “out & about,” everyone!