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The Friendship Bakery Opens Doors for Young Adults with Special Needs
In 1994 Friendship Circle began bringing friendship to children with special needs. Almost 20 years later, these children have grown into mature young adults. As they continue to grow, Friendship Circle has committed to teaching and supporting them. This realization has inspired the Friendship Bakery, a program for young adults to learn skills that will enable them to qualify for a job in the food service industry.
Learning New Skills
Each week, the group meets at a professional kitchen and bakes delicious challah! The bakers are acquiring skills such as measuring, rolling, braiding, kitchen safety and cleanliness, and basic business management.
At the beginning of the session, bakers are challenged with kitchen skills such as putting on gloves and tying aprons, learning to identify measurements and ingredients, accurately measuring and pouring, and asking for assistance. By the time the session ends, bakers have learned all these skills and much more, and are proud of their new accomplishments.
Young adults who enroll in the program will have the opportunity to work in different areas of the business, depending on their interests and talents. Sample positions include managing online orders and sales, waiting on customers, managing inventory, and of course baking.
The Results: Great Tasting Challah
The Bakery has been met with instant popularity! The challah is beautiful and delicious, and has been met with high demand, keeping the bakers on their toes. The bakers have even received special orders such as wedding challahs and Bat Mitzvah dinner rolls. It is a welcomed challenge, and there is such camaraderie as the bakers work together. The Friendship Bakery has worked its way up to producing 50 fresh, warm challahs each week!
The program coordinator, Rivki Mann, said that the “bittersweet goal of the program is that our employees-in-training outgrow the Bakery and find stable jobs of their own. We will assist them in their job search and placement, and continue to provide support as they grow into the next stage of their lives.”