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Yonkers bakery gives former inmates a second chancePosted: Updated:
A Yonkers bakery is doing so much more for the community than just serving up some delicious treats.
Greyston Bakery produces thousands of pounds of brownies for Ben & Jerry's ice cream. It also produces second chances.
Dion Drew is a supervisor at Greyston Bakery, a bakery founded by a Zen Buddhist who believed his employees should never have to submit a resume, fill out an application or go for that final interview.
Drew says he has gone from being behind bars to behind the assembly line. "Dropped out of school and basically got into selling drugs to help my mom. I was in and out of prison and things didn't go the way I wanted it to go."
His life changed 10 years ago this month when he put his name on a piece of paper at Greyston. He was hired to work on the assembly line with no questions asked. "Nobody wanted to hire me, they were always talking about my past. I wasn't good at interviews. I never had a job or interview before."
Drew says not only is he making, testing and inspecting the sweet treats, but he is also changing attitudes and perceptions in the process. He now has his own TED Talk video in which he encourages kids to choose the right path. He even invites them to come and have a brownie, on him. "I'm going to talk to you and uplift you. Like people have been doing for years and many years."
Cassandra Cardinez, a mom of three who got involved with the wrong crowd, has similar story to Drew’s. She say she did four years in a state prison and could get a second chance once she got out. "Once they see the felony, it doesn't matter what your resume is, your background. They shut doors," says Cardinez.
But Greyston's doors were open. They promoted Cassandra, who went from packer to taste-tester and who now leaves work every day smiling, "with a bag of brownies!"