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Meet Jackie

Meet Jackie

Published June 27, 2019

Together We Bake has had an incredible, positive, lasting impact on my life. When I got out of jail I found myself applying for job after job, but no one would hire me. Employers were shutting their doors in my face, refusing to give me a second chance. I decided not to let that stop me though, even with a huge gap in my work history. I knew that if I learned new job skills that I could add to my resume, I’d be more likely to get a job. I sat down with my case manager, and she suggested that I go to workforce development. I worked with Mr. Delaney, who first introduced me to the idea of applying to TWB.

Mr. Delaney and I went down to TWB, and that’s when I first met Stephanie. She told me about their program and showed me around their space. She introduced me to the TWB staff and a couple program graduates. I met Tricia, one of the Co-Founders, Lucy the photographer, Liz the business leader, and Colida the coach. I sat with Stephanie for an interview that same day. It was an amazing feeling to be accepted into the program and to be accepted somewhere that other women did not judge me for my past. I suffer from depression, drug abuse, domestic violence, molestation, incest, and rape, but TWB taught me that I’m a survivor! 
The women at TWB saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself – value and worthiness. 

In the kitchen, Coach Colida taught me how to make all of TWB’s products, my favorite being chocolate chip cookies and granola! She taught me food safety and helped me succeed in achieving my ServSafe certificate. Colida’s compassion, patience, and encouragement empowered me. Liz, our wonderful business team leader, always took her time teaching me how to fill orders, package products, and make deliveries. She showed me how to be a leader, not just a follower. Liz gained my trust, and I was able to share my story with her and the other women at TWB. Lucy always made me feel so beautiful. I never liked taking pictures, but everytime she took a photo, she would always say kind words that made my morning special.

I now have hope and confidence that I will become self-sufficient! My Job Counselor, Kelsey, has done amazing things for me. At our first meeting, I was so ashamed to tell her that I could not use a computer, but she said that it’s ok, she was there to help. Kelsey never judged me for my education or thought of me as being dumb. I left that first day and cried because her kindness meant so much to me. That was the proudest moment of my life because I only have an 8th grade education, and Kelsey made me feel comfortable asking for help. I will never forget the moment I learned to use a computer, and Kelsey helped that dream come true!

The TWB team helped this once-abandoned little girl reach for and achieve her dreams. Colida reminded me of my mother, who I admired so much. I’ve always dreamt of being able to bake. As a child, I’d watch my mother bake. I’d sit in the kitchen and watch her make cakes and pies and sweet potato jacks from scratch. Sometimes she’d let me grate the carrots for her famous carrot cakes and, when she was finished icing them, my siblings and I took turns licking the bowls. Those were happy times, full of great memories with my mother. TWB has brought those memories back to the surface, and the program has allowed me to relive them.

The women at TWB are beautiful, kind, and caring. They have faith in me. They have encouraged me to go back and get my GED. They have taught me how important I am. The empowered women in my class have given me the opportunity to be a support system to other women, motivating and lifting each others’ spirits. Trusting other women and myself was a challenge before coming to TWB. Today, I have overcome that challenge with the support groups and empowerment classes TWB provided. I discovered a new love for meditation and that I have a passion for yoga. 

This Program is the best program I have ever been in. I highly recommend it to every woman in need of job training skills, looking for a solid and consistent support network, and ready to make a better future for themselves. Together We Bake will put you first and give you a chance to meet empowered women that will in turn empower you. 

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