Rising Above Bakery in Nyack, NY is helping autistic young adults have the time of their lives

Summer 2023: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent magazineThe mission of Rising Above Bakery is to help develop independent, empowered bakers who possess the skills and self-confidence needed to live independent, fulfilling lives: Getting up each morning motivated to start the day and go to work, meeting people and taking part in social interactions in an inclusive environment.

“We aspire to achieve this while building a self-sustaining business that is a valued member of its local community,” says founder Shiri Reuveni-Ullrich, a speech therapist and an avid baker, noticed the dramatic effect that baking cookies had on her nonverbal, autistic young adult students. “The kitchen filled with chatter, singing, laughter, and verbalizing as students became more comfortable with the work. At that moment, she knew that a bakery must be created to help individuals with disabilities find their voice and live meaningful, independent lives.”

Shiri says Rising Above Bakery is at the center of three overlapping communities: Our bakers-in-training and their families, our customers, and our storefront friends and neighbors.

  • The bakers we train are united by their experience of a life-affirming, confidence-building work experience that can open a path to a meaningful, productive life.
  • Our customers share their enjoyment of our delicious, hand-crafted baked goods – and also the knowledge that each item they purchase has given an individual the opportunity to practice the craft of baking.
  • Our neighbors are the ones who make us a real community!

Shiri’s ask: The bakery is currently based at Rockland Community College, which provides the nonprofit with a commercial kitchen and storefront in the heart of Nyack, NY. But the organization is looking for a permanent home. 

“This will mean that Rising Above can do more of everything you love,” says Shiri, who plans to take on more bakers and produce lots more bread and baked goods. “Then, we can finally invite the community in to purchase our baked goods and say hi.”

If you, or someone you know, can help Shiri secure a storefront location

“It’s our dream to further develop our vision of a practical, financially viable, community-building service business that employs and imparts meaningful life skills to young adults with a wide range of developmental disabilities,” Shiri shares. 

Learn more at risingabovebakery.org.