Together We Bake, a bakery in Alexandria, Virginia that makes granola, cookies, and kale chips for local eateries and a nearby Whole Foods, is also serving as a job-training and coaching program for women who have served time in prison or are on probation following criminal charges.
“We realized there weren’t a lot of services for women [in need],” says Stephanie Wright, who founded the bakery with her friend Tricia Sabatini in 2012. Together the two combined their experience, in social work and baking respectively, to provide women returning from prison with employment. The program also gives resilience training and empowerment classes, overseen by Wright, in a mindfulness-based, research-driven approach to help people change their behavior, and overcome feelings of negativity and lack of self-worth.
The program also offers the opportunity to work towards a Serv Safe certificate, which makes it easier to find employment in culinary fields once a worker’s stint in the program ends. So far, 88 percent of the women to go through the program have passed the Serv Safe exam, and, according to the co-founders, the recidivism rate among the women is at only 8 percent.
Read the full story at NPR’s The Salt.