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Meet Ashley

Meet Ashley

Ashley, Fall 2022 TWB Grad

What circumstances brought you to where you were before you joined Together We Bake?

I was introduced to Together We Bake through the Friends of Guest House program, which is where I am currently living. I came to this area after being incarcerated for five years. I needed an environment change, and Friends of Guest House welcomed me with open arms. After being referred to Together We Bake, I had my interview where I met Hanna [Alumni Engagement/Workforce Development Specialist] and Stephanie [Co-Founder/Executive Director]. Right off the bat, I felt welcome and like I was exactly where I belonged. The sisterhood of the program is just what I needed to help me during my time in recovery. [I built] good, solid relationships with coworkers who have in turn become my friends. The women at Together We Bake all have their own stories, and their lives are truly an inspiration to me. 


How would you describe Together We Bake?

Together We Bake is more than just a nonprofit organization to me. It has become a family for me. When I came here, I was in need of good, solid relationships with sober, positive and professional people. I have found all of this and more in this program. To me, learning how to bake and getting my ServSafe certification are just extra little tidbits compared to the wonderful things I am accomplishing. 


What is the most valuable thing you learned at Together We Bake?

I feel that the most valuable thing I've learned through Together We Bake is the power of teamwork. Working together with a group of people towards a common goal will definitely help you succeed even more. It feels amazing knowing that I will never be judged, and it doesn't matter who someone is or where they have come from. The most valuable thing Together We Bake does is empower women on a day-to-day basis and make each and every one of us feel welcome and accepted –– flaws and all. The way they give back to the community by being a nonprofit organization is also extremely valuable.


What was the most challenging thing about the program? How did you overcome that challenge?

The most challenging thing about the program for me would have to be the ServSafe test. [However], the teacher, Colida, did such a great job at taking her time when teaching the class and making sure we knew exactly what we needed to know ahead of time. She went above and beyond to get us supplies that  ensured we had no problem studying and learning the right information. She took the time to answer all of our questions and kept our attention through it all. I am very grateful to have her as my teacher, especially in such a difficult class. I am very proud of myself for learning so much and accomplishing this certification.


What advice do you have for women considering applying to Together We Bake?

As far as advice for any new women thinking of applying to the program, I say GO FOR IT! If you are looking for a working environment where there is plenty of love, acceptance, and friendship, then this is the right place. This program will better you in all the right areas. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be involved.


*Note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.

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