These Classes Help Turn Cookie Dough into Confidence
RICHMOND, Va. — At Tablespoons Bakery on Richmond’s Southside, they’re rolling out the red carpet for what might be Central Virginia’s sweetest Zoom reunion.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to make you some edible cookie dough,” Kamani Turton-Jones said.
The bakery is teaming up with Jacob’s Chance, which helps teens and young adults with disabilities thrive through a variety of activities like in-person and online enrichment classes.
“We’re really excited to be doing a professional edible cookie dough making program,” said Kelsey Dunn of Tablespoons.
On this particular day, the virtual group is learning from Tablespoons baking experts like Turton-Jones.
“Kamani is one of our bakers, and it’s really great to talk about the stages of baking, because there’s a lot of chemistry in there,” Dunn said.
Kate Mardigan, the founder of Jacob’s Chance, said the hour-long sessions guide members through lessons in dance, art, music and cooking.
“We started this when COVID first hit,” Mardigan said. “It’s well balanced. We are well balanced because we address all aspects of life, be it fitness. Sometimes we do language.
Mardigan said these classes help develop independence one cookie, one song or one painting at a time.
“If they can go into the kitchen and do it and say, ‘No mum, I’ve got this in the other room’, that’s a trust factor,” Mardigan explained.
The non-profit organization is named after Jacob Leonard, the son of Mardigan’s friend who lived with severe disabilities during his short life.
“Every day I walk into my office and see this smiling face [on a poster] and I know exactly what I’m supposed to do.
Mardigan said Jacob lives in every person who joins the group.
Year-round enrichment classes also connect people who would otherwise be isolated.
“There was a lot of laughter. A lot of questions, really good questions asked. But a lot of nonsense,” Mardigan described.
Dunn said accepting the invitation to partner with Jacob’s Chance was an easy decision.
“We also have the opportunity to come together as a community, make new friends and build friendships,” Dunn said.
These two groups prove that teamwork makes the cookie work.
In this no-bake dish, flour, butter, sugar and salt are essential. “We’re going to let you enjoy the cookie dough,” Dunn said.
But the main ingredients of Jacob’s Chance are a pinch of love and a cup of inclusion.
“We remove borders and ensure that every opportunity is available to those we serve,” Mardigan said.
If you want to learn more about Jacob’s Chance enrichment courses, you can visit JacobsChance.org by dialing (804) 640-8109.
You can find out more about Table Cuillères Bakery here.
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