2019 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award
Interned with Madison-area Urban Ministry: Just Bakery
This summer I interned at Madison-area Urban Ministry: Just Bakery, a twelve-week employment training program for people facing barriers to employment such as incarceration, homelessness, alcohol and drug addiction, and mental health issues. Through the program, they learn real-world mass baking skills, as well as get several certifications that make them more marketable. The students also help with sales, which if they have a theft charge on their record, can be extremely helpful, since theft charges are easy to discriminate against. Another path through the program is gaining up to 12 free credits at MATC’s culinary program if the student passes all their tests.
My role within Just Bakery was as the case management intern. I assisted the students (there were three to eight during any given week) with any resources they might need help obtaining. Housing, medical appointments, hunting down old W-2’s, and applications for financial aid (for school and through programs like Wheels to Work) are all things I have done during my time here. I also had a chance to work with the youth cohort for a bit and help them with similar things. Even something as small as printing out coloring pages and song lyrics helps the students.
I learned a lot during my time at Just Bakery. One of the most obvious things is that people with criminal records are just people, people who have probably had to make impossible choices in their lifetimes. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Like Bryan Stevenson said in Just Mercy, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” I also learned a lot about the resources in Madison and that Madison is very lucky to be a resource-rich city. I’ve learned how to use my privilege as an educated white woman to advocate for less fortunate people and build them up.
After I graduate this May with my BA in Sociology and certificate in Criminal Justice, I hope to continue to do this sort of work, as I think it is rewarding to bring justice to those who have been beaten down by the system, and to improve our community by helping every citizen thrive.
I am immensely thankful to the Audrey J. Harris Scholarship for making it possible to intern here this summer.