Christina graduated from our Spring 2019 class. On her first day of orientation, she was timid, quiet, and preferred to observe and listen, but, by the time graduation came around, she found herself addressing a room full of people, speaking of the impact TWB has had on her. Throughout the Spring session, Christina grew more and more confident, learning to show self-compassion and appreciating her journey for what it was. The sisterhood that she and the rest of her team made will stay with her forever. Read more about Christina’s story below!
What circumstances brought you to where you were before you joined Together We Bake?
Christina: I was burned out after working with young children for 26 years. I was also feeling extremely frustrated (due to unresolved issues with my teaching team), and, unfortunately, I took my frustration out on a child in my classroom. CPS (child protective services) was called – I resigned from my job – and 2 months later, CPS put me on the state child/abuse & neglect registry for 7 years (which prevents me from working with children for 7 years).
What inspired you to apply to Together We Bake?
Christina: My therapist at Alexandria CSB told me about the program and encouraged me to apply. I was impressed with the staff and what I learned at orientation.
How has Together We Bake changed your perspective on life?
Christina: It has taught me to not be so hard on myself. I now try to see my mistakes as learning opportunities and remind myself that nobody is perfect. I now try to see life as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Has someone at Together We Bake (a fellow participant, a volunteer, an instructor, etc) had a particular influence on you?
Christina: I was very impressed with our Teachers and Advocates: Colida and Liz, (who are both graduates from TWB). They both were honest and open with us and told us their personal stories. They taught us valuable baking, business, and customer service skills. They helped us look at ourselves, (our feelings, attitudes, behaviors, etc.) and understand ourselves better.
How would you describe Together We Bake?
Christina: TWB is a program run by a group of exceptional people that help women who have been through negative life experiences and need some extra help getting “back on track” and moving forward in life. It provides education and training and lots of needed respect and compassion.
What do you feel is the most valuable thing Together We Bake does?
Christina: TWB gives women respect, understanding, empathy, strength, knowledge, skills, motivation and the courage to do whatever they need to improve their lives.
What is the most valuable thing you learned at Together We Bake?
Christina: I learned that everyone has been through challenges in life and we need to be kind, patient and respectful towards others.
Do you have any specific memories of experiences at Together We Bake?
Christina: My best memories from the program were when we were all in the kitchen together-working as a team, quickly and smoothly preparing, baking and cleaning up like we had been doing this our whole lives. It was amazing to be a part of and something I’ll never forget.
What was the most challenging thing about the program? How did you overcome that challenge?
Christina: Trying to do things correctly AND quickly in the kitchen. I’m a perfectionist, and it only frustrates me and slows me down. I am still working on my speed, but with practice, I am confident that I will improve and be successful.
What is something you are proud of that you achieved because of your participation in Together We Bake?
Christina: I learned to be more comfortable and confident in the kitchen as I prepared and baked their delicious products. I don’t fear the thought of cooking my own meals at home because I’ve proven that I can successfully bake as a member of my team in TWB’s Kitchen.
What advice do you have for women considering applying to Together We Bake?
Christina: Don’t hesitate!!! It will be a positive and empowering experience that will help you socially and emotionally. It will provide you with practical knowledge, skills, and Servsafe Certification, self-confidence and a new support network of wonderful women.
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