A Journey from Kitchen Classroom to College: Chris Underwood’s Path to Auburn University

Chris Underwood’s transition from Gadsden to Auburn is not your typical freshman journey. While most students follow a conventional educational path, Chris’s route to Auburn University was influenced by a distinctive setting—the kitchen. Thanks to a collaborative effort between Beautiful Rainbow Café and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Chris is now prepared to embark on his college experience as part of the Auburn EAGLES program.

The partnership between Beautiful Rainbow Cafe and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System began with a simple interaction. “The partnership we have with Beautiful Rainbow Cafe started a long time ago,” recalls Alabama Extension Agent, Christy Mendoza. Chip Rowan, a special education teacher, introduced the idea of extending education beyond school. “He told me about this nice idea of helping his students to go beyond once they graduate from high school,” shares Mendoza.

Beautiful Rainbow Cafe’s growth was organic, evolving over several years. “We began teaching throughout the summer over several years, and their program grew and grew until they became a beautiful Rainbow Cafe,” explains Rowan. The cafe’s mission went beyond culinary skills. “Teach them the skills they’ll need to get private community-based employment and to live more independently,” he emphasizes.

Chris’s culinary talents shone brightly within the cafe’s kitchen. “Chris started demonstrating that he would be following the recipe and then say, ‘Well, I think it might be better if we did this,’ and he would be right,” his mentor praises. Chris’s aspirations were not confined to the cafe’s walls. “He expressed interest in wanting to continue a culinary education,” his mentor Rowan recalls.

Chris’s aspirations led him to Auburn University’s EAGLES program. “We also found out about the excellent EAGLES program that is specifically for students with disabilities who can then take college courses in their area of interest,” Rowan explains. The program’s philosophy aligns with Chris’s vision of inclusion and active participation.

If you’d like to visit The Beautiful Rainbow Café it’s located in Gadsden and open Tuesday through Friday from 11AM to 1:30 PM.

Happy Give FFA Day! Join us as we strive to raise $1 million in just 24 hours!
Gas Buddy says one of the biggest factors in fuel price increases depends on how quickly and effectively refiners can finish pre-summer maintenance.
The bi-partisan bill would also play a key role in waterways. Congressman Ryan Zinkey says it would ensure the federal government does not take away property needed for public use.
Exports are predicted at nearly 1.9 billion bushels, and crush is expected to take up 2.4 billion bushels, an all-time high.
The legislation already passed the state Senate and is on its way to the House.
It would allow the State Attorney General to issue subpoenas while investigating land ownership, and would also stiffen punishments for foreign entities that do not file with the state, or who submit false reports.
RFD-TV’s Christina Loren recently visited southern Arizona with members of the Western Caucus to see firsthand how cattle producers have been impacted by the historic surge of people crossing the border.
Rural Lifestyle & Entertainment Shows
Dailey & Vincent are BACK ON RFD-TV for another great season, brought to you by Gus Arrendale & Springer Mountain Farms. Join them as they welcome scores of fabulous bluegrass, country, and gospel music acts as special guests!
Join popular polka performer Mollie Busta as she hosts the weekly “Mollie B Polka Party” on RFD-TV! The one-hour program features the nation’s top polka bands and a wide variety of ethnic styles produced on location at music festivals from around the country.
RFD-TV’s newest music series, “On the Record,” presented by John Deere, takes viewers on a journey through the heart of country music. Hosted by renowned broadcaster, Suzanne Alexander, the show features long-form interviews with today’s biggest artists and the veterans who inspired them. “On the Record” also gives viewers a front row seat to intimate performances and exclusive music video releases, highlighting the broad scope of Nashville’s talent.
Starring award-winning artist Perley Curtis, anyone who enjoys the classic sound of real Country music will love “Perley’s Place.” Filmed live at the iconic Nashville Palace, near Opryland in Nashville, TN, with a live audience, it’s one classic County hit after another.
RFD-TV has proudly hosted the music program, “The Penny Gilley Show” for over 15 years now. Starring “The Sweetheart of Country Music” herself, Penny Gilley.