Sunday, July 27, 2008


It is with heavy heart and bowed head that I write this blog tonight. Tomorrow I am facing letting the culinary arts team from this summer's Young Entrepreneur Program know that their co-worker and friend was killed on Friday morning. It is such a sad story.

Jessica Avilas, age 15, was a young lady in our culinary arts team at this summer’s Young Entrepreneur Program. She was tragically killed Friday morning by her stepfather, who killed her mother, her and then himself on Warsaw Street in the city. You may have seen this on the news or on the front page of the D&C yesterday.

Jessica was head chef for the team making empanada’s for Hispanic themed food week last week. All the teams knew her when she took orders everyday for the cafĂ©. She was a quiet, respectful young lady who had straight A’s in school and always wore long skirts due to her family’s strict religious beliefs. She was just starting to come out of her shell, was friendly and well-liked by her co-workers. When she didn’t show up for work on Friday, her managers, Sarah Gullo and Farai Ashton, were very surprised because she was always early for work and there every day.

Tomorrow at ArtPeace we will be talking with all the kids, starting with her culinary team, to share the news and to do debrief. Sarah Gullo’s mom, a trained grief counselor and psychiatric nurse, will be in attendance to support us.

Calling hours for Jessica Avilas and Robert and Sandra Camacho will be Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Falvo Funeral Home, 1395 N. Goodman St. The funeral will be Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the funeral home, with a burial immediately following.

Donations to help the family pay for funeral costs can be sent to the First Pentecostal Church, 116 Campbell St. in Rochester, 14611.

ArtPeace would like to do something for this family. We are open to suggestions.

Prayers are always welcome...


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