Flour to Empower bakery in Elmhurst empowers those with brain injuries

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Flour to Empower teaches life and job skills. (WLS)

Synapse House empowers and employs individuals who have sustained brain injuries.

The Elmhurst nonprofit's latest endeavor is a baker program - called Flour to Empower -- that teaches life and job skills.

Deborah Giesler, the founder and executive director of Synapse House, had the idea.

"I am a speech therapist by trade and I worked Trauma 1 hospital here in the Chicago area," she said. "We had a lot of individuals who were coming back after they left our rehabilitation program and asking 'What now?' What do people do now if they can't return back to their former life, whether that's going back to school or going back to work?"

Giesler created Synapse House to offer programs focusing on business skills, culinary and employment readiness.

"So something to provide that quality of life where you feel you are being productive again, giving back this is a community kind of program so that is why this is important to us and to everybody that comes here," she said.

Synapse House follows a clubhouse model with idea of doing work as a healing process for participants.

"So we have our business unit that does all of our administrative work so if you send us a donation you're going to get a letter back from a survivor. Not from me but from someone actually telling you their personal story of why that donation helped them by coming to this program," Giesler said.

Flour to Empower has two functions.

"Not only as a social enterprise to help raise money for our organization but also to teach job skills for individuals going back to work. This is a great place to practice those work skills before they go out," Giesler said.

For more information on Synapse House and Flour to Empower, visit: http://www.synapsehouse.org/
Related Topics:
careersbakingjobsdisability issuesElmhurst
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