Your monthly gift helps sustain our program!
Ben was a 26 year old man working as a heavy equipment operator and had worked in a variety of industrial jobs; he was living a good life, had his own apartment, and had a steady girlfriend when he experienced a fall that caused a severe traumatic brain injury that changed his life in June 2018. Ben was in a coma for several weeks and faced months of intensive rehabilitation to learn to walk, talk, and take care of himself again. His brain injury left him with severe memory challenges, loss of vision on the left side, and difficulties processing rapid information and multi-tasking. He started volunteering with Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop in February 2019. With individualized support and training for six months, he became independent with baking and frosting cupcakes, expanded use of his memory strategies, and learned to compensate for his vision loss. Due to his success, he was promoted to a part-time paid baker position and learned a new skill to prepare pies. Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused us to cut back on operations in March 2020, Ben continued to work with his team. He secured a new job as a delivery driver, moved out of his parents' house, and got married this past year. Ben and his wife remain connected to our program because of the success that he experienced. "He has been told 'no,' 'you can't,' and 'you will never.' He's been let down by people close to him, and yet he still gets up and keeps going every day!"
This story highlights the important work and unique program we offer at Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop. Our program is specifically tailored to meet the needs of adults living with acquired brain injury who face challenges with memory, vision, balance, communication, emotional regulation, and have not experienced success, satisfaction, or pride in their work since surviving their brain injuries.
In our supportive and strengths-based bakery program, individuals with brain injury work hard to reintegrate into our community-based program in the heart of Multnomah Village in SW Portland, OR (USA). Learning to ride the bus independently, learning to arrive at work on time, remembering to pack a lunch, learning to support each other, and learning to pace oneself throughout the day are all skills that can to be re-learned. Peer support, awareness training, and specific skills training to learn to bake, frost, and decorate cupcakes, maintain food safety, engage with customers, and operate the cash register create opportunities for learning new skills, experiencing success, building self-confidence, and fostering hope and resilience. Despite brain injury and ongoing challenges, survivors can feel good about their strengths, team contributions, and increasing independence.
Your monthly gift is critical to helping us sustain this unique program and support more folx like Ben. As our thank-you for your monthly gift, please stop by our bakery during business hours to pick-up your mini cupcakes each month to enjoy for yourself, share with friends or family, or gift to someone. It's our little way of saying THANK YOU for the support!