Lessons in Hope


Sitting around tables, sharing poems about second chances, the women discuss recent moments in their lives where they have been tested. Every day there are new lessons about life, entering the workforce, and, most importantly, giving yourself the second chance others won’t. These lessons are incorporated into baking instruction. Today they are learning how to bake cupcakes. While they wait for the baker to arrive, they sing “Happy Birthday” to one of their instructors. This is a big family indeed.

“What is the most memorable case…?” Stephanie looked to Tricia.
“I think it’s Thelma,” Tricia said.
Both of them nodded.

“[Thelma] is a single mom. Was really quiet and kept pretty much to herself,” Stephanie said.

Thelma hadn’t worked for seven years when she came to Together We Bake. Now she is working as a catering manager and coming back to Together We Bake from time to time to help out.

Hannah graduated in the spring of 2015 and, like Thelma, continues to be a presence. She helps facilitate the program, while also working as a sales and customer service manager outside the organization too.

Hannah wants to encourage women going through the struggles she did.

“I [would] tell them in one word. It’s hope. It’s just that simple,” she said. “You feel hopeless, you feel like everything is over. You feel really small and like a failure. It’s not even like that. If you give yourself a chance, you see hope. You will be able to find hope. And there are people who can give you hope.”


About the Authors: Sarah Nylen and Ariel Chang are interns with the Daily Do Good. Ariel attends National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, and is a part of The Washington Center's internship program. Sarah is a marketing and management student at American University.