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Teen Exposure Program

Sunflower Teen Exposure Program (STEP)

Teen baking classes and work exposure for students in high school, ages 16 through graduation, with a variety of learning disabilities, ADHD or high-functioning autism. Classes provide a hands-on opportunity to experience baking in a professional kitchen, learn basic baking skills, safe food handling, kitchen safety, and have a taste of job expectations.

Teen students decorating cookies

Teen students and their end of program products

Teen students preparing jam thumbprint cookies with instructor

Teen program students decorating cookies and instructor

Baking opics covered

  • following recipes
  • measuring and weighing ingredients
  • using equipment and tools
  • piping
  • mixing
  • scooping
  • rolling
  • cleaning

Featured “soft skills”

  • following directions
  • sharing equipment/tools
  • appropriate communication
  • self-advocacy
  • safety and sanitation

There will be multiple sessions offered between July 2024 and next June 2025. The curriculum will be the same for all sessions. A teen may register for one session each fiscal year. Summer sessions, as well as Fall, Winter and Spring sessions are being scheduled for outside-of-school hours. Students will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis and must be at least 16 years old at the start of their session. All classes are held at 5951 Halpine Road in Rockville. Dates and times will be available on the Application Form.

Safety is of utmost concern in a kitchen with industrial equipment and sharp tools.

Potential risk factors include uncontrolled seizures, difficulties with balance, control of anger or frustration, sensitivity to sensory irritants, and/or inability to remain standing throughout the 2½-hour class. If a student requires 1:1 assistance, their personal support person may attend the class. Generally, teens are expected to participate as one of 5 students with a professional Chef Instructor and two assistants.

For funding, Sunflower is approved under the Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) program of the Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) to provide our teen bakery exposure classes. If your child has signed up with the DORS Pre-ETS program, then inform your counselor, so DORS can begin the fee authorization process. There will be no needs assessment in order to qualify. If you live in Maryland and have not yet signed up for Pre-ETS, please contact the nearest office of DORS for assistance. If a teen does not live in Maryland, or is not known to DORS, families may pay the fee privately.

To be placed on a list to receive an Application as soon as they become available for STEP sessions beginning in July, 2024 through June, 2025, please complete this form and return it to teens@sunflowerbakery.org. If you would like more information or have any questions or concerns, please us at teens@sunflowerbakery.org.