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A career change has the power to reawaken your passions.

“I can honestly say that I learn something new every day  — a new fact, a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at an old situation,” says Jane Moyer. “I had no idea this new career would be that enlightening, but it is amazing.”

Like many baby boomers, Jane thought she would be retired and living on a beach at age 60 but instead, she and her husband of 40-plus years, John Moyer, Sr., decided to start a new business.

There’s a saying that we work the first half of our lives to make a living and the second half of our lives to make a difference, and Jane has found that to be profoundly true.  

When John’s father and step-mother began to need extra care as they aged, Jane focused her attention on helping them stay as independent as possible for as long as possible. And after John’s step-mother died, they moved his father into their home. For 11 months they took care of him, watching his dementia progress, and hired an in-home care service when they needed to be away. But the service didn’t provide the quality of care they expected.

They then realized the value of helping John’s father remain as independent as possible and, equally as important, the joy it brought them. So Jane and John signed on to be one of the first franchisees for FirstLight HomeCare, part of a national network of in-home, non-medical care businesses, in August 2010. Since then they have expanded to four locations and were awarded the “Franchisee of the Year” from FirstLight HomeCare.

Jane, who has a very positive outlook on life, found her passion for this new business unlike anything she has done in the past. She says making a difference in the lives of others has become first and foremost on her “To Do” list.

But starting over isn’t an easy task — and neither is finding your passion, like Jane did.

According to 20-year veteran career coach Dana Glasgo (aka “The Cincinnati Career Coach”) about 25 percent of her clients are in the 55-plus age group, all seeking employment after retirement or as a result of losing their jobs.

“Many times when people change careers, out of necessity or choice, they begin to have feelings of fear. ‘Did I do the right thing? Can I make this adjustment?’ These feelings are normal,” says Glasgo. “People are going in a direction, possibly, that they have never traveled. It’s a fear of the unknown. They have to realize that they can do it. It can be a very emotional time.”

Even Jane still finds challenges with owning her own company — more than once she has dreamed about getting a paycheck from someone else instead of being the one making sure there is enough money to pay the payroll.

So whether you are seeking new employment from a company or venturing out on your own, you need to realize there will be challenges and frustrations, as well as thrills in your new career. As Glasgo says, a career transition is a journey, and not an overnight trip.

For those thinking of starting a new career, Glasgo has a checklist of advice to read before making the decision:

  • Make sure you are financially secure before retiring, leaving a job (on your own) or starting a new venture. The rule of thumb: Six months to one year of savings to cover all your living expenses. This goes double if you’re starting a new business. It generally takes anywhere from six months to several years for a new business to become profitable.
  • Look at your skill set. Pick out the things you love to do and the things you never want to do again. An honest list will help you figure out what you’re passionate about.
  • List the tasks, non-negotiables and other qualities that would be included in a dream job.
  • Develop a “target” list of companies, organizations or nonprofits who employ people with your talents and skills.
  • Begin to branch out and network with other people who have similar likes and interests. Let them know you are looking for a new path. Networking gives you the opportunity of multiple eyes looking for a position that is right for you.

Sindur Shah McRedmond of SindurStyle creates custom works of wearable art.

While most little girls grow up playing with dolls, plastic ponies and the occasional G.I. Joe, Sindur Shah McRedmond grew up playing with diamonds.   

“My father was a rough diamond broker in India,” says McRedmond, owner/creator of SindurStyle, a jewelry design, appraisal and brokering company. “I recall seeing these unique, rough diamonds and being so enchanted with them because I knew what they would end up being after they were polished to perfection: These lifeless crystals would become brilliant gems.”   

Watching her father make trades over handshakes in then-Bombay’s Diamond District and playing with the rough gems before they were transformed instilled in McRedmond a sense of awe and reverence for both nature and the master jeweler, who could take these raw materials and craft them into a piece of beautiful art.   

“I still have that feeling of awe when I see gems that are unique and exquisite,” she says. “Nature and its beautiful creations never cease to amaze me. It takes sometimes a decade or 45 millions years to get these small, rare creations to come to our hands. That, in short, is monumental.”

After being surrounded by the rough and wholesale diamond trade throughout her adolescence, McRedmond continued her diamond immersion and took at job at a jewelry store as a teenager, where a store manager helped convert her fascination with gems into a career.    

“I was blessed to have a young and passionate manager that would bring me his books from his personal gemology course,”“ she says. “Within a short period of time I ended up reading the whole course and was thirsty for more.”   

After graduating from high school, McRedmond attempted to quench that thirst and went directly to the source of her manager’s course, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the world’s foremost authority and education facility on diamonds, colored stones and pearls, and enrolled.   

“Our educational experience within the GIA is very intense,” says McRedmond. “They believe practice makes perfect and all GG (Graduate Gemologist) students have to pass the dreaded 20-stone test at the end of their course with a 100 percent success rate.”   

The GIA places 20 different stones in a box and the students have to correctly identify each stone with 100 percent accuracy.  “It’s not an easy task as Mother Nature offers about 1,000-plus options,” she says.  

McRedmond graduated GIA with certifications in graduate gemology, graduate design and as a graduate jeweler. She’s also certified by the American Gem Society, the country’s pre-eminent jewelry trade organization dedicated to consumer protection, as a professional with ethical business practices and superior gemological skills and knowledge. 

In 2005, McRedmond used her years of experience and education to found SindurStyle, her dream brand and business where she designs custom engagement rings, wedding bands and other jewelry-based work in addition to providing appraisals, gemstone evaluations, diamond brokering and precious metal and gemstone sales.    

Using the long-standing relationships with vendors, dealers and jewelers that she’s developed over many years and transactions, McRedmond works with her SindurStyle clients to create one-of-a-kind pieces with a conscience — she only uses vendors and dealers who adhere to both the Kimberly Process and the Clean Diamond Trade Act, laws and initiatives enacted to stem the flow of blood diamonds.

“Every single item I create takes a meticulous and detailed process,  she says. “First, I communicate with a client and send them a basic template that will fill me in on what they know already: their likes/dislikes and their comfort range. Then I dissect each one and ask detailed questions about their preferences, non-negotiables and lifestyle: their preference in activity, favorite places to shop, their personal style and lastly their line of work. All of these import factors help me help them design a piece that will suit them. … This is the basis of the basic layout and from there you sprinkle it with personal likes and flare.”

And then McRedmond works to create a wearable, enjoyable piece of art that fits into her client’s day-to-day lifestyle and reflects their personal style. 

“My favorite rings or pieces I have created are pieces that I have taken apart and made something new out of,” she says. “Like taking old diamonds out of grandma’s jewelry and making them into a new engagement ring or taking a diamond from a client that went through a divorce and making it into a modern day mother’s ring.”

For one client, McRedmond used the original diamond from an engagement ring and added the birthstones of the client’s children on either side.

“I loved what that client told me in the process,” she says. “She said that the stone was the foundation for her path to motherhood and thus why would she sell it to get rid of it even though the marriage didn’t work out? Instead she took something that represented her life before and recreated it into something that reflected her life today. I loved that!”

A custom SindurStyle creation can take anywhere from a week to six weeks to craft, depending on complexity. McRedmond works by appointment only and can also conduct in-home appraisals for existing jewelry. For more information or to set up an appointment, visit sindurstyle.com.

Mannequin Boutique serves the community and fashionistas.

“We’re all about giving every penny that we can to charity,” says Moe Rouse, proprietor of the Vine Street shop, Mannequin Boutique.  

For two years, Mannequin Boutique, which sells donated high-end designer items from the likes of Prada and Chanel to contemporary pieces from J. Crew and Ann Taylor to one-of-a-kind vintage items from the 1900s, has been giving back from its current OTR location, but Rouse herself has been giving back for years longer than that.  

With the help of one employee and six volunteers, Rouse gives 100 percent of the store’s proceeds to seven nonprofit organizations in Cincinnati: Tender Mercies, the Freestore Foodbank, First Step Home, One Way Farm, Lighthouse Youth ServicesWesley Chapel Mission Center and Caracole. Rouse has been a long-time supporter of these charities because she feels they are smartly run, likes that they support Over-the-Rhine and is familiar with who they help, so she wanted to publicly identify the seven nonprofits as the set list of charities to which Mannequin Boutique would donate.  

“I think it’s unique because it is a women’s boutique that gives all of its profits to charity,” Rouse says. “Even when we do things for ourselves, we try to do them for others.” 

Because the boutique’s merchandise is gently used, customers can snag great buys for the same high-quality items they might find in another boutique or department store.  

“Most places buy from contemporary wholesalers, so you’re getting contemporary, wholesale stuff, which is fabulous. There’s nothing wrong with that at all,” Rouse says. “But for people who can’t afford a $700 outfit, they can come here and get one that’s slightly used that was maybe $1,400 for $200.” 

After shopping at Designer Dress Days in the 1990s, a yearly sale inside the old convention center put together by the National Council of Jewish Women — a national organization that works to provide support for women, children and families who need it — Rouse saw the sale losing its impact. She decided to take it over in 2001 and renamed it Designer Donations for Cincinnati Charities. Rouse ran two yearly sales out of a space behind the old Blue Wisp, but when the building had to be torn down, she moved to her current location on Vine Street and opened Mannequin Boutique.  

“I was at an antique flea market in Lawrenceburg and I saw this vintage, turn-of-the-century mannequin, and I loved it,” Rouse says. “It was just great. And I thought — well, I have to do this, and I guess I have to call the shop Mannequin.” 

Mannequin Boutique provides more than just handbags, jewelry, shoes and clothes — the history behind the vintage items allows customers to walk away with exquisite pieces, each with their own story to tell.  

“We have tails from the turn of the century. We have bathing suits that are wool from 1910,” Rouse says. “We have tuxedos — beautiful tuxedos — that men have grown out of, but they bought at the finest places in the world.”   

A former electronic media professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and current trial consultant, Rouse stays busy, but never fails to indulge herself in the world of fashion. She attends vintage shows, travels to New York every month and continues to make frequent trips to Paris, Los Angeles and Denver to stay up-to-date and in-the-know of fashion’s ever-changing market.  

“If there’s a show on Chanel, I’ve seen it. If there’s a show on Yves Saint Laurent, I’ve seen it,” Rouse says. “You can pretty much show me anything and if I know what the label is, I can generally pick the decade.”

For Rouse, that’s what makes fashion’s vintage market so exciting — figuring out an item’s value and history. But she admits it doubles for a hefty amount of work. “I think it’s probably more work than a regular store,” she says. “It would seem to me that you go to fashion shows, you go to the markets where you buy things, you have certain labels that you like and that you carry, and you choose it and they ship it to you and you know the prices. All of this [deciding on the worth of a vintage item] is kind of shooting from the hip.” 

Despite her frustration of not having time to do more with the store, Rouse is committed to not using the proceeds to hire additional help  — she wants to continue to give everything she makes to charity.  

“I think the stuff we have is really special. I mean, everyone says that, and for everyone who owns a place, that’s correct,” she says. “We have things, though, that are really hard to find.”  

And being able to combine her obsession with fashion with her love for giving back to the community means more to Rouse than the clothes on any mannequin.   

Mannequin Boutique hosts private evening events for those who want to reserve the boutique for shopping, wine and appetizers. Shoppers can pick a charity they want the proceeds from the evening to go to, and representatives from the chosen organizations often come to give a speech. To learn more about Rouse or Mannequin Boutique

Women Writing for (a) Change helps women find their voice.

Linda Wulff lost more than just her husband Steve in March 2006. When he passed, as she puts it, he took her spirit, joy and hope for the future with him.  

“I should have been prepared for what losing him would be like, but I wasn’t. I was absolutely devastated,” she says. 

Diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer and only another two to six months to live, Steve surprised everyone by living another 19 years. But when he passed, Wulff struggled to stifle the numbness. For months, she couldn’t leave the couch. She slept in her clothes, avoided the couple’s bedroom and showered only when someone came to visit. 

But in January 2007, Wulff decided to get up off the couch. She trained for a marathon, took a photography course in New York and signed up with Women Writing for (a) Change (WWfaC). 

“I almost felt like I was starving to be heard,” Wulff says. “The grief was overwhelming for me, and I felt like our society expected you to be fine in a few months.” 

Originally founded as a school by Mary Pierce Brosmer, WWfaC empowers women by giving them the opportunity to find their voices and share their stories through writing. During her years as a creative writing teacher in the 1980s and 1990s, Brosmer was often discouraged from teaching works written by women or individuals of color. She dreamt of what a school would look like if she could create it in her own way, and was successful in 1991. Using the technique of writing circles, her 15-student classes provided a safe and comfortable environment for women in prisons, shelters and nursing homes to find their voices and share their stories.  

“A circle setup is essentially a circle of chairs without tables in between people,” says Diane Debevec, board president and acting executive director of WWfaC. “This setup removes the hierarchy of a traditional classroom, where the teacher is at the ‘front’ and perceived as ‘above’ the students. In a circle, everyone is equal.” 

As a company and foundation that does outreach work, WWfaC now offers four 8-week and 15-week core classes every semester at its headquarters in Silverton. With affiliate locations in Indiana, Colorado, Alabama and Vermont, WWfaC accepts around 20 students for each class, ranging from ages 20 to 90. And even though the name may suggest a women’s-only group, the organization offers co-ed classes, as well as a number of other outreach programs for young girls and seniors. 

“It encourages us to step into our own authority; to trust our own voices; to trust that what we have to say matters and has value, no matter where we are,” Debevec says. “I think that happens for our young girls when they’re at the time of life where they’re so fragile and they don’t feel very confident in themselves. In our classes, they learn to step into their own authority. But it happens for [adult] women, too.” 

And it happened for Wulff. Married again with a grandchild on the way, Wulff is in the process of writing a book about the emotional roller coaster ride she dealt with during her husband’s death.   

“Women Writing for (a) Change was incredibly instrumental in getting me going because it was a place that for several years, all I wrote were grief pieces,” Wulff says. “It really helped get me through that period of time and it helped me see things. I went from numb and dead to feeling, even though it was painful getting through the emotions.” 

To Debevec, the relationships the classes foster help the students deal with those emotions. 

“When you’re in this community of women and you go through 21 years [of classes] together, there’s births, deaths, deaths of parents, deaths of children, disease — you see it all. There’s so many different experiences and there’s so many common experiences, so both of those things begin to resonate with people,” she says. “Our classes are led in such a way that every type of writing is honored and acknowledged. It’s a real opportunity for people who have really powerful experiences to share them, write about them and listen to each other.”

To learn more or register for classes, visit womenwriting.org

Kristy Nguyen creates award-winning menswear.

Breaking into the world of fashion design isn’t easy, but University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) graduate Kristy Nguyen is well on her way to success.  

In addition to getting job offers from companies such as Ralph Lauren and White House Black Market, and interviews with the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle, she also won the Saks Fifth Avenue Award for her military-inspired menswear collection, “Salute,” shown at DAAP’s Macy’s-sponsored, end-of-year fashion show in June. The award honors a DAAP senior whose collection is well designed and high quality, yet marketable and wearable. 

With all of these accolades, it’s hard to believe that Nguyen didn’t always know she wanted to be in fashion design. “I originally wanted to be a veterinarian,” she admits. However, an unfortunate experience while shadowing a vet turned her off from the profession. “The lady I was shadowing had to go put a dog down, and just thinking about that … I started crying and couldn’t pull myself together,” Nguyen says. 

After her disheartening experience at the vet’s office, Nguyen began to think about a totally different career path. She realized that she had always been artsy, making pillows and bags and small crafts as a child, and that led her to decide that fashion design would be the perfect career to pursue. Her natural ability and talent for clothing design has genetic roots as well, from both her seamstress mother and handyman father. 

Nguyen, who specializes in menswear, started out thinking she would go into women’s clothing design, an obvious path for budding fashion designers. However, she quickly realized that she preferred designing men’s clothes for their subtlety and attention to small details.  

She says that the “Salute” collection was inspired by her family’s history with the military. “It kind of runs in the family. My dad was in the U.S. Navy and my brother is in the Air Force,” she says. She is also drawn to the utility and intricacy of military uniforms. Most of her clothes from throughout her fashion design classes were inspired by military looks, and she decided to complete the trajectory of that theme with her capstone collection for the fashion show.  

According to Nguyen, it took about six months to conceptualize, design and create the looks for the show. Once the clothing was complete, the designers handed over their designs to other students, who were in charge of putting on the show. Nguyen says that the designers got to decide on the types and looks of the models who would wear their clothes.  

Without a doubt, Nguyen’s favorite piece in the collection is a bold, wool trench coat. It features dark olive green with brighter green contrast panels and a double belt. For Nguyen, it’s all about technicality and the fit of menswear, and the trench coat embodies attention to subtle detail and creativity while still maintaining functionality. “It was hard to work on, but it was definitely one of my favorites!” says Nguyen. 

She highlighted the coat by making it the grand finale of her show. “The show progressed to a dramatic ending, and that was the trench coat,” she explains.  

Flipping through her sketchbook, it’s obvious that Nguyen understands fine details: each piece was sketched almost to the exact stitching. She even went the extra mile to design several messenger and weekender bags to go with the collection — something she’s never done before. The extra work paid off.  

Even though the show was a success and classes are over for Nguyen, her journey is far from over; she now faces the task of finding a job. Her dream, like many other designers, is to have her own business, and although she has made and sold a few pieces from her collection, she is also realistic.  

As for her future plans, she would like to work for a menswear company designing menswear that meshes with her vision. But she’s working as an independent designer for the time being, and getting ready to launch a website featuring her senior collection along with some new additions for the Fall/Winter season. 

For Nguyen, being able to design clothing is about personal expression. The best part about what she does? “When you design clothes, it’s all yours and no one else’s,” she says. “It’s not someone telling you what you should do — it’s all from your inspiration.”

SoMoLend plays matchmaker between small businesses and eager investors.

Small business ownerssupporters and social networking addicts alike: get ready for Candace Klein’s latest project. 

Too “bad” for just one business, Klein has reached beyond Bad Girl Ventures, her micro-lending organization that focuses on funding woman-owned start-ups, to create SoMoLend, an online lending platform to help lenders team up with local small businesses in order to “do well by doing good,” as she describes it. 

The tech-savvy service’s name is an abbreviation for “Social, Mobile, Local Lending,” and that’s precisely what it delivers to users. The site takes advantage of the recent signing of the JOBS Act. The JOBS Act gives small businesses more options than ever before to raise money, including the Crowdfunding Exemption, which will allow small businesses to raise capital from individuals for the first time beginning in January 2013.   

Cue Klein’s innovative lending platform.  

SoMoLend’s purpose is to knock out two major problems with one swing. First, Klein cites a 2010 report from the Federal Reserve that reports that banks are turning down approximately half of small businesses that venture to apply for loans. Many businesses don’t even apply for fear of rejection, she adds. SoMoLend encourages banks, along with other institutions and individuals, to finally start lending a hand (in the form of some much-needed financial support) to these businesses by connecting them online. 

Second, investors who are unhappy with return they receive from stocks and other investments can enjoy a higher rate of return through SoMoLend; its average interest rate of return is currently 10-11 percent.

“It’s very likely that you’ll get a better return than you could on the stock market or by investing in other similar products,” Klein says. “[10-11 percent] is a relatively good return investment considering some of the loans are only six-month loans.” 

If you’re wondering how the site works, think Match.com. SoMoLend essentially plays matchmaker between small businesses and eager investors. Lenders are prompted to answer a series of questions upon joining the platform about what qualities they seek in borrowers — preferred years of management experience, credit rating and location, for example. As borrowers who fit their preferences appear on the screen, users can broaden or tighten the search to their taste, Klein says. 

On the other end, borrowers must meet certain criteria before they can ask for loans. After providing secretary of state documentation and a business plan, businesses enter their company details to earn a one-to-five star rating. SoMoLend takes into account the company’s amount of management experience and credit score. Startup companies with bad credit or no credit at all begin with one star, while businesses with several years of experience and a strong credit record earn five stars. The star rating determines what type of loan businesses can receive from lenders. Five-star borrowers can accept up to $1 million for a five-year term at a three to seven percent interest rate. One-star borrowers are limited to $5,000 for a six-month term at an 18 to 22 percent interest rate. 

“The cool part is, is once a business repays a loan on SoMoLend, they gain a star,” Klein says. “So they can consecutively borrow more and more money for lower interest … And [the lenders] can see that you’re bankable now because you’ve built up a reputation on our platform.” 

While individuals who sign up as lenders on the site can only browse until the Crowdfunding Exemption takes effect, organizations like banks, local churches and chambers of commerce are more than welcome to put money on the table — and quite a bit has already been invested. The platform’s first lender, KeyBank, has already committed to lending up to $50 million for this year, and much of it is still up for grabs. “We’ve had several hundred businesses sign up so far, but we haven’t even come close to tapping into the full amount that Key has committed,” Klein says.  

Being the first of its kind has its ups and downs, however. SoMoLend has encountered kinks with the site for the past six months, and now that it’s entered national beta, there’s more pressure to iron them out. Each page has a comment box, which resembles the chat box on Facebook, and users are encouraged to alert the company to any issues that might emerge. 

As the nation watches and waits to see if Klein’s efforts make a difference in the business world, the founder and CEO is confident her socially savvy platform will impress. “I think SoMoLend — not just SoMoLend but platforms like SoMoLend — are going to change the world,” Klein says. “I mean, change the way that small businesses access capital. And I think that’s one of the most exciting things that I’ll at least see in my lifetime.”

DID YOU KNOW: According To A Study By American Express, There Were Over 8.1 Million Women-Owned Business In The United States In 2011 — 8,125,800 To Be Exact — Which Generated Nearly $1.3 Trillion In Revenue And Employed More Than 7.6 Million People.

Twin tween sisters create a cookie mix charity to help families.

Sisters Amy and Emma Bushman are generous beyond their years. The twins (with a little help from their mom, Alison) created Bake Me Home, a charity that provides families transitioning out of homeless shelters with jars of homemade cookie mix and baking supplies as well as other unique services. The surprise? These philanthropic entrepreneurs are only 11-years-old. 

In 2008, three things occurred for Amy and Emma, then 7, which would be the ingredients that led them and Alison, a former stay-at-home mom, to start Bake Me Home. First, Emma saw a Teen Kids News special on children who had launched their own businesses and started to wonder if she could start her own business, too. Second, Amy’s passion for cooking led her to attend “Camp Cuisine” at the Mercy Health- Plex where the theme of “food as gifts” sent her home with a jar of handmade cookie mix. Finally, the twins celebrated their seventh birthday and had guests bring items to donate to the Bethany House Shelter, where the girls had been volunteering since they were 4, in lieu of gifts. Thus the concept of starting a charitable business that involved cooking was born and directly led to the foundation of Bake Me Home. 

The idea began with simply giving a jar of cookie mix to families leaving the shelter, but the Bushmans quickly realized that cookie mix might not be enough. Amy and Emma began to wonder what families without adequate cooking supplies would do with a jar of cookie mix. A bowl, spoon, spatula, cookie sheet, potholder and more were added, as well as a gift card to Kroger to purchase the eggs, butter and other ingredients needed to make the cookies. They put all of the supplies into an eco-friendly reusable tote bag. 

Alison started emailing everyone in her address book to tell them about Bake Me Home and to ask for small donations. She was overwhelmed by the response — Bake Me Home raised about $11,00 that first year. However, as Alison says, “That first year, the money just poured in. And then it got really hard.” 

Bake Me Home started in 2008, just in time for the economy to go bad, and for about five months, donations were few and far between. “We went to every booth, every festival, every speaking engagement you could possibly imagine to stay afloat,” she says. “It was an exhausting five months, but it paid off.” 

Their determination got Bake Me Home through a rough patch, and now things couldn’t be going better. Bake Me Home now helps 10 to 11 charities in four counties, and, when it’s all said and done, more than 300 families each year. They hope to expand production into a larger location in the near future, which would allow more volunteers to physically help them, as they consistently have to turn people away because of space restraints. 

Bake Me Home was also able to expand their services beyond the supply totes. Now, in addition to the cookie supply tote bags, they offer portrait photography sessions at the shelters, which provide free, framed family portraits. They also send cookies to soldiers overseas for a donation through their Bake Me Back Home program, and encourage kids to volunteer through their newest program, Bake it Forward. 

Bake it Forward was inspired by a $5,000 grant Bake Me Home received through the Sodexo Foundation, and offers $100 grants to kids in grades 2-9 to get them started on their own summer volunteer project for a charity of their choice. Amy and Emma are so enthusiastic about starting new projects that Alison has to tell them that they can’t start anything new for a little while (“Maybe!” say the girls). 

Even though the Bushmans’ lives have changed significantly since founding Bake Me Home, they wouldn’t give up it up for anything. Amy and Emma plan to continue Bake me Home well into the future, and continue to dream big: Emma wants to be a lawyer when she grows up, and Amy hopes to be an architect. As for Alison, she says that she can live without the perfectly organized closets she had time to arrange before she began Bake Me Home. She also defines why she loves what she does: “I think the best thing a mom has said to me was that not only were the cookies delicious, but that it made her feel so proud that she had accomplished something.” 

Bake Me Home isn’t just about cookies; it’s about bringing together family and charity. Though Emma and Amy are right when they ask, “Who doesn’t love cookies?” 

Go to bakemehome.com to donate, learn how to volunteer and for more information.