Heavy Backpacks

This week, one of our journalists, Sonja, will be telling you her experience thus far!

“We wrapped up the last two weeks with new hopes, opportunities, and a very heavy backpack.  We are all getting to know each other better (though don’t ask me yet what everyone’s name is) and learning to work together as a team.

Our first chapters in our ServSafe book have been very enlightening and we all agree that eating in restaurants now can be a somewhat scary and gross experience.

Getting used to the smell of cookies and treats baking has been a challenge.  I think I can speak for the whole class when I say that Bennie might be our favorite person at Just Bakery because he’s always bringing us in his extras- which go great with Just Coffee, by the way…

Our raffle winners this week: Raina, Sonja, Sharricka, and Jamie!

Jose Luna from Madison College came by and talked to us about the 12 potential  credits we receive from Just Bakery towards our culinary arts degree.  He answered all of our questions  (including my 10 or so) about enrolling, the Bridge program, GED/HSED assistance, and even help for past due student loan debts (WorkSmart!).  It certainly peeked my interest and opened my eyes to some new opportunities.

What’s very clear after being a new students of Just Bakery is how much everyone cares about each of us.  There is so much assistance coming from every direction, and we are reminded each day to reach out if we are struggling and help is available!”

So, who is Sonja, you may be asking…

“I’m Sonja, I’m 47 years old fro Madison, WI.  I’m a mother of three grown children and have three grandchildren.  I was born in Madison while my family lived in Stoughton, where they owned a small restaurant.  My father was the chef and my mom baked all the pies.  I’ve had a few previous career paths, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I was born to make delicious things for the world around me.  I aspire to be a baker and dessert maker.  Somehow the universe brought me here to the Just Bakery program.  I struggle with some past traumas that have affected my life and careers over the years.  I’m really excited for my future; I see myself creating pies and treats to be served at someone’s table on the holidays and for special occasions.  I would also like to move to Norway in the future and bring my talents there and live close to family.  For now, I will keep striving towards my dreams and putting in the work.  I appreciate this program for giving me “the yeast to rise”.”

We also have Raina, Sonja’s co-journalist:

” I am Raina.  I was born in Connecticut, my formative years (high school) spent in Madison.  I am eager to learn and truly enjoy kitchen science, which I always think of as magic and alchemy!  A few select ingredients, through different combinations and processes, can become so many different items.  I look forward to learning with my fellow classmates, my advisors, and through my coursework.  Outside of class, I enjoy camping, biking, and nature guided walks.  Spending time at the Arboretum and Olbrich are fave past-times, and I also love traveling and adventures that take me out of our little city.  In the last two years, I’ve took on a life partner, which gladdens my heart and makes my heart flutter.  We spend significant active time together.  And now here goes my exciting adventure in baking with the Just Bakery program!  I will remain open to the many options for my future business which will be attainable through this curriculum.”


Then we have Ali, who is just a ball of energy:

“I’m Ali, middle name: Danger.  I’m 25 years old.  I heard about the Just Bakery program from Jan at Project Respect.  I really wanted to be apart of it; it sounded awesome!  My dog is my number one joy.  His name is Hondo, his birthday is in August.  In my future, I see freedom (from drug court).”

And last, but not least, Troy has joined us again after some setbacks occurred the last round:

“My name is Troy and this is my second time taking the class.  I’m here to obtain and retain the information I didn’t get the first time around.  This class is a bit different and challenging.  I do look forward to the challenges and I’m jumping in with both feet.  We are all family, and what I’ve experience with family is we all have issues and obstacles to face.  I’d rather have a family support behind me then face it alone. So I’m thankful for the school and the team members here with their support and experiences.  I know we and I can make it through this program together!”


Next week, we’ll talk about what’s going on in our youth program!

We are still looking for tutors!  3:00-4:00 Mondays, Wednesdays, and/or Fridays!  If you are interested in learning more, email Jaclyn at jaclyn@emum.org.

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