The bakery is also a nonprofit, helping homeless and at-risk youth.
- Today is national muffing day we are celebrating with Blue Sky Bakery. The bakery is a non-profit as well and runs a transitional jobs program for homeless and at risk youth doing such important missions. So founder Lisa Thompson joins us this morning. Nice to have you with us, Lisa.
LISA THOMPSON: Good morning. It's so nice to be here.
- Yeah, good morning to you. Of course, I want to talk about baking and muffins but just-- your mission is so, so important as well.
LISA THOMPSON: Thank you so much. You know, we're so lucky that we found a way to be able to do both, which is to do things like celebrate National Muffin Day. We have some of our raspberry ricotta muffins here. We have our banana mocha muffin. So we have these things every day that we're open, but the reason that we exist is to provide job training for youth.
So that's what we've been doing now for 14 years since we were founded. We're a nonprofit organization, and we exist to provide paid, supportive job training for youth in Chicago. And I don't know that there is ever been a time since we started that-- that was more critical when unemployment is so high. So many people are struggling. So many people are feeling disconnected. I think being able to provide paid, supportive employment to youth is a really critical opportunity for us.
- You know this time you're absolutely right. It's such a difficult time. And I'm wondering what you're saying, with all these at risk youth as well, that age group just a critical time of their lives and then going through a pandemic, needing help from training programs like yours. Are you seeing an uptick in those young people coming in for help?
LISA THOMPSON: Absolutely, you know. And it's one of those things that it's great to feel needed. But in this time you know it's hard to help everyone that needs help. So-- we-- since the bakery is not as busy as normal, of course and we're not able to employ as many youth in person, we've actually started a virtual baking academy for youth. And we're really excited because we really didn't know how many youth would sign up. They'll be having the opportunity to bake from home, and we have 13 young people in our baking academy. And it's going to start on Tuesday. So I'm really excited about that because I just think engaging people right now is critical.
- You know, I think people are interested in wanting to help too because if you see programs like this you're kind of like how can I help. How can I make things-- make sure things are still happening and there's a training program, and you do want people to get involved. How-- how do you want them to get involved?
LISA THOMPSON: We have a lot of, I think, really easy ways for people to support our youth. You can order food at the bakery. You can order it through our website, which is blue-sky-bakery.org. You can also stop in and get a breakfast sandwich, get a slice of quiche. You can also order a birthday cake, you can order a small wedding cake. So there's a lot of ways to support us that way. You can also volunteer to work with our youth at the farmer's market during the summer. We are employing volunteer graphic designers to help with the virtual baking academy this year. So there's a lot of great ways people can support us. We also have an upcoming virtual baking class. This will be our sixth class and it'll be focused on pizza dough.
- You know what, I'll take one of those muffins right there in front of you. I'm sure you have more than one, you have two, maybe more than that as well. Thank you so much, Lisa. Appreciate