Sunflower Bakery is a nonprofit organization that helps people with learning differences gain important business skills. I am writing as a participant in Sunflower’s Bnei Mitzvah program.
Here, I have been taught a lot about non-profit organizations, different types of learning disabilities, and important baking and business skills. Sunflower makes many different treats, from simple chocolate chip cookies, to delicious marble cakes. Their kitchen is located in Gaithersburg, with a cafe in North Bethesda, but soon they will be opening a new location with a production kitchen and a kitchen just for teaching students.
The Executive Director, Daphna Raskas, taught us about the variety of programs that the Sunflower Bakery provides. Their main program, the Pastry Arts Employment Training Program, helps young adults with learning disabilities train for competitive jobs in the baking industry.
There, students will have 18 weeks of instruction and training to learn the ins and outs of the business and other key skills. Then they have 8 weeks of paid internship to top it all off. In addition, Sunflower offers a program for teens in the summer and after school to learn good skills like baking basics, safe food handling, and workplace safety.
Overall, Sunflower Bakery has helped over 265 people learn good business skills and find good jobs.