"Just Bakery 41 has officially begun, preheating for our culinary adventure! While it might feel like we have a long road ahead of us, week 1 has been fun, fast, and informative.
This week we had the pleasure of getting to know our classmates and instructors through a series of fun introduction exercises. We've heard Zack and Jasmine lay down some serious vocal stylings, watched Deja unveil a hidden talent while sharing some laughs over the ice-breaker ball. During Baker Bingo we learned that Dizzy and Jackie share a unique grasp of the German and Spanish languages, that Shannon has traveled to New York City, Howard is a sentimental movie lover, and Justin doesn't like to answer questions (LOL).
We've also gotten to meet a few of the epic people that give their time to us through other organizations and channels. Mr. James Morgan has been an often seen face this week. He really helped open our eyes to the possibilities and challenges that people face after an incarceration of any kind. He really embraces the concept of "2020 Vision". Not only as it applies to this first year of the decade, but as it encourages us to see things clearly and generate positivity from less than ideal circumstances.
Kianna and Clifton joined us from Anesis to challenge us to create our own definition of "group culture". They told us a bit about what to expect as we explore the facets of trauma counseling over the coming weeks and even left us with a useful meditation technique to use.
All this positivity has really been an asset daily as we plug away at our math, ServSafe, and nutrition lessons. Everyone has been very encouraging, helpful, and supportive. All in all, it looks like class 41 is really getting ready to crank up the heat and use that 2020 vision for all it's worth!"
And now for a couple introductions to the JB 41 students:
"I go by Dizzy. I'm from Sun Prairie originally but have lived in Madison for the last ten years. I came to Just Bakery so that I can start the process to go back to school and find another way to live. I am dealing with the recent death of my boyfriend. I don't know what I want to do or who I want to be, but I do want to change my life and change the world."
"My name is Amber, I'm 24 years old. I am from Madison, WI. I have an 8-year-old son and am currently 17 weeks pregnant with my daughter. I am motivated to do the Just Bakery program to gain knowledge that can help me get a better job, and secure a brighter future. I struggle with finding a good-paying job due to my criminal history and being unable to pass a background check. My joys in life are cooking and doing hair and makeup. I am very creative. I see myself in the future pursuing a career in either culinary or cosmetology."
"My name is Deja, I am 24 years old, born and raised in Madison, WI. I have four kids. My oldest boy Zae'dyn is 7, my daughter Nova is 4, my other two boys are Elijah who is 3 and Landyn who is 1; they are my pride and joy! I have seven other brothers and sisters. My oldest sister Sharikka is one of biggest supporters- no matter what I do she is always there to get on me when I'm wrong and help me through whatever it may be. My mom passed away four years ago, which was a very big heartbreak, and I have no relationship with my dad. These low points in my life have helped define who I am, and inspired me to do better. I've struggled with addiction for the past 8 years, I want people to know, yes, I struggle, but my struggle has and is developing me into the strong, independent, smart, but vulnerable woman I am today. I came to Just Bakery wanting to try something new and meet new people like myself. I love working with people which is why I want to find a job that allows me to interact with many different people. By being in this program I want to develop new skills that I can apply to my daily life as well as a more professional work environment!"
"I was born in Milwaukee, WI. From then until now I have moved a total of 29 times in my life. Some of these moves were just to new homes in the same town, however several of the moves were major. I spent several years in Connecticut, Illinois, and Georgia growing up. As an adult, I spent three years in New Orleans just before Katrina. Right now my biggest adventure is my 22-year-old daughter's pregnancy. She's due July 25th and we find out this week if it will be a boy or girl. Part of the reason I chose Just Bakery was to demonstrate to her that it's never too late to go back to an educational program. I also came here so that I can become familiar with programs and resources that will help me continue my education after completing this class. I've already finished more than half of my B.S. in sales and marketing management. After Just Bakery, I would like to get re-enrolled in an effort to complete it. When I was young I always wanted to pursue a degree in law. As a single mother, I opted to take what I thought was a more practical course of study. Now that I'm ready to be a grandma I am considering what it would take to make my law school dream a reality. For the time being, I am focusing my energy on completing this class and my other court-appointed programming. It is going to be a challenge to balance my time and income needs but I look forward to the challenge. -Shannon"
Check back next week to meet the rest of the students!