Tag Archives: transitional program

Bakery Skills participants working

Bakery Skills program teaches employable skills

Walk into the Jewish Community Center on a Thursday evening and you can smell the baking challah bread wafting from the catering kitchen. That means the Friendship Bakery is in action!

The Friendship Bakery is a transitional program which is dedicated to preparing its participants for securing and maintaining a job in the community, specifically within the restaurant business.

Let us introduce you to Alexa Morris, Jordan Weinfeld and Ben Nadis, all of whom were involved with Friendship Circle when they were younger and are now participants in the Bakery Skills program.

Weinfeld heard about the opportunity with Friendship Bakery from his connections in Friendship Circle. “I gave it a try and I think it’s just the best thing I ever did because it gave me a perspective on a way to live and way to see others for who they are. I really like that about the Friendship Bakery.” Weinfeld said.

There are three areas of this program and each section offers different levels of hands on learning depending on the skill and ability of the participant. The first section is dough prep. In dough prep the participants follow a recipe and weigh, measure and add the ingredients to create and prep the dough for the next section. Baking actually takes place in the second section and participants are responsible for applying the egg wash to the dough, putting the dough in the oven, setting a timer and pulling the bread out when it is done. In the third section the participants sell the baked Challah to customers and receive a small commission for each loaf they sell.

Weinfeld has been in the bakery program since 2013 and has worked all three areas of the program. His experience and expertise have put him in a position to be a leader to others in the program. He encourages his fellow participants and assists with questions and issues that may arise during the process. “We learn those skills here, how to bake. I think it is a really great skill to have. It shows people that we can do things and that we’re capable and that we’re so much more than people give us credit for. I think it is a wonderful thing for the community and us to do and I’m really proud to be here!” Weinfeld said.

This program meets weekly and takes place in a professional kitchen. The participants acquire skills such as measuring, identification of ingredients, correct use of equipment, kitchen safety and cleanliness and basic business management.

“What I like about the program is that I’ve learned different skills. I learned how to braid, how to weigh and be a team player and help people if they need my help.” Nadis explained. “If I keep doing this, I might actually work in a bakery one day, if I decide too.”

In the kitchen, Ben is breaking eggs into a pitcher

Ben breaking eggs for the Dough Prep

Alexa Morris came to the Bakery Skills program because of her history with Friendship Circle and she discovered a passion for cooking. She took the skills she learned in the program and found employment in a professional kitchen. “[This program] has helped me learn more about weighing and measurement. You need to know about those things when you are in a real kitchen. I started working at a kitchen, that has also helped me a lot too. It’s another step [toward] being more independent. It’s helped me gain the understanding of where that level can be.”

Friendship Bakery participant Alexa is reading recipe

Alexa Morris reading recipe

If you are interested in learning more about the Bakery Skills program or you would like to help support it, you can read more about it here: www.friendshipcircle.org/bakery.