Lana scooping doughIt was such a relief! I was able to move out of my mother’s 900 square foot house. I am still close enough to help, but she has her autonomy. I can shop at the grocery store and buy things that I wasn’t able to get at The River, things I couldn’t afford to buy before. I can shop for clothes at JCPenny again. These things feel good.”

-Lana, 50, Graduate of The River Bakery Training Program, Currently employed full-time at Great Wolf Lodge





This training program is such a wonderful opportunity, it opens doors to a new career for those with no resources to change their circumstances. Thank you so much for the chance to begin doing something I enjoy.”

-Emme, 53, Graduate of The River Bakery Training Program, currently employed full-time at Panera Bread Company.






“I was asked to tell my story to you all.

I raised two children on my own, holding one or two jobs all along.  One lasted 12 years,
and I worked a part time job with it for 7 years.  That was 7 days a week for over 7 years, so I am not afraid of hard work.  My downfall was my last warehouse job.  After 4 years there, I hurt my back and went to physical therapy to regain some strength, but the job had no light duty positions available, so I kept re-injuring it.  I lost that job due to too many absences.  I had worked in warehouses for almost 20 years.

Unemployment ran out and I still had no decent prospects.  Everyone wanted experience for desk jobs, and good computer skills.  I am ok, but not all that good with computers.  I took a few free classes on Microsoft Office techniques, but that was not the necessary experience to get a job. All I could get was $9.50per hour.  I passed that wage 13 years ago!   And I looked into school, but MATC was too expensive for someone without enough to make ends meet.  I have been using my retirement account to pay necessary bills, but that is almost gone now.

Fortunately, my daughter heard about the River, so I came here to get some help with food.  I applied for the baking training program and was accepted.  I have always enjoyed baking but no one counted 50 years of experience in my grandmother’s kitchen then my own kitchen as valid.  So I went through the class and got ServSafe certified and earned the Wisconsin Bakers Association certificate as well.  I worked at American Girl for the Christmas season, but got laid off at the end.

Martee found an open position in the bakery at Fresh Market and I applied.  Jenny helped me get through the online application that would not cooperate.  But I got the job and started a week and a half ago.  I even received my first check yesterday!  This training program is such a wonderful opportunity to open up doors to a new career for those with no resources to change their circumstances.  Thank you so much for the chance to begin again doing something I enjoy.  Andy and Jenny and everyone who helps make this program possible, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!  I will do my best to make you proud.  “