The Village Kitchen, a cafe bakery that is open to the public, offers culinary arts training for residents of Good Shepherd Center. Through hands on experience, women obtain the skills and confidence needed to become gainfully employed. Here is the story of Holly Green, a graduate of The Village Kitchen, in her own words.
It's been almost a year since I left Good Shepherd Center/Catholic Charities and I am happy to report that this year I opened my own Bakery in upstate Pennsylvania, Middle Sister Bakery. As The Village Kitchen staff can attest to, I absolutely love to bake and it just seemed like the perfect fit.
I have been an observational learner my whole life. When I worked at The Village Kitchen I observed everything around me; from food ordering, to how things are stored and labeled. I learned how to prepare bakery items so that there is always a constant and fresh stock of pastries and other menu items for the customers. I overheard conversations about how to get the best food prices; where to purchase them and when they should be purchased. The biggest thing I learned was to create your menu around what you are already using in order to control food costs better. That has really helped me with my own bakery.
I took it all in because I knew I was not there by accident. God was showing me something that was very dear to my heart. During good times, hectic times, not so great times, I always soothed myself by baking up some cookies or cupcakes or whatever else I felt like baking. Baking was always a way I dealt with stress. It made everything better, although I could never begin to explain why. I guess I have a gift and it brings me to bliss to create something wonderful out of sugar, flour and eggs!
The time I spent at Good Shepherd Center and The Village Kitchen, I looked upon as a blessing to advance my own life and livelihood. I paid attention to everything and everyone. The hands on experience was worth so much! The Food Manager Classes and testing sealed the deal. With my Professional Food Manager Card I knew I could do almost anything in the restaurant industry. It's like a card that validates you. Without it, my choices would have been very limited as far as my food career advancement. That card alone has opened so many doors for me since I left TVK. And now I run my own bakery and I am busier than I ever thought possible. I feel very blessed and I have Good Shepherd Center, the staff, and the training I received to thank for that. I wish there were words to express my everlasting gratitude. Your program gave me a second chance and changed my life forever. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.