Aurora Bakery and Road to Independence
We dare to dream of a road to independence for all!
Or purchase a reward below if available!
Or purchase a reward below if available!
The mission of Road To Independence (RTI) is to provide pre-vocational training programs for individuals with differing abilities instilling confidence and self-sufficiency. Through our Farm and Aurora Bakery programs, individuals will practice and improve life skills. We see our program as a starting point on the road to independence and a productive life within the community.
We were thrilled and encouraged by the response to last year’s campaign to expand our Bakery Program. Of course, for sustainability, there is much left to do. We want to update you on our 2022 TLC campaign, introduce you to our Farm Program and ask for your support to meet our current and ongoing needs.
We recognize that these are difficult times with many requests for your support. Thank you for considering us.
The Farm Program, established in 2011 and based in Newport, NH centers around our herd of 5 miniature donkeys. Donkeys are known for their cautious demeanor and their high sense of self-preservation. While horses might run, donkeys are more apt to stand and not move, resulting in their reputation for stubbornness. To work with donkeys a relationship based on trust must be developed and nurtured.
- Participants learn to halter, lead, and brush the donkeys
- Participants develop critical life skills, like communication, teamwork, following directions and proper dress. These skills enable participants to join us as community volunteers when we :
- Visit schools, elder care sites and other community locations to teach others about donkeys.
- Participate in Reluctant Reader Programs at area schools and libraries
- Participate in community events such as Farmers Markets, fairs and area parades
- In 2022, 38 participants were actively involved in 338 hours of Donkey Programs
- Our “On The Road” programs have impacted an additional 899 community members through visits to libraries, eldercare facilities and schools
Aurora Bakery and Cafe
In 2017 Aurora Bakery opened as a retail store at 29 Main Street in Newport, NH as a second venue for providing additional learning opportunities. Our 2022 TLC campaign has allowed us to go beyond our made-from-scratch, sweet and savory offerings to include soups, salads and sandwiches and expand our staff to include 5 previous participants as part-time employees. Aurora is becoming known as a place to work, meet, eat and socialize in the center of town.
Participants are able to:
- Learn general work and life skills (following directions, communication, teamwork, proper dress and hygiene)
- Learn specific bakery and food handling tasks (following recipes, customer service, filling orders)
- Interact and be part of meaningful activities in a retail setting
In the Community
This year RTI was awarded the non-profit of the year by the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce!
There are very few opportunities in the community where individuals with differing abilities can actively participate on an equal footing with their able-bodied community members.
Both RTI programs provide meaningful community involvement for all our participants and employees, particularly those who have aged out of school-based services. Aurora Bakery offers daily opportunities for interaction with co-workers and the community. Participants in the On the Road Farm Program handle the donkeys at the weekly Farmers Markets and as they visit schools, elder care and other area venues. Our farm program entries are frequently awarded prizes for their creative and inventive costuming in area parades.
By combining your generous donations to last year’s campaign with community support and grant funding, we have been able to accomplish the following:
- Obtained needed equipment including bread and meat slicers, large mixer, and an additional freezer that expanded our Take and Bake offerings
- Obtained/upgraded our indoor and outdoor seating
- Added a café menu that has brought in new and regular customers
- Hired two experienced, part-time employees to produce products and support staff in training
- Added two more part-time staff-in-training (total of 5) and increased their total hours from 243 (2021) to 1584 hours (2022)
- The garden area was cleaned up and beautifully planted just in time for the unveiling of a community mural depicting Newport’s history
Help Us Continue Our Mission for Road To Independence Programs
|Continue to increase our visibility using both traditional and online methods||$2,000|
|Provide salary support for staff and staff in training||$9,000|
|Provide participant scholarships to cover unsubsidized training costs||$4,000|
What More Can You Do?
- Share our campaign with your networks.
- Visit us at Aurora Bakery, the Newport and Sunapee Farmers Markets and in the community with the donkeys. Check out our calendar of events on our website.
- Volunteer with us!
- Follow us on Facebook
|Joan Pearson||Revere, VT||September 28, 2023|
|,||September 28, 2023|
|Joan Holleran||New London, VT||August 15, 2023|
|,||August 15, 2023|
|,||August 14, 2023|
|,||August 14, 2023|
|Peter and Jacqulein Capone||,||August 14, 2023|
|Betty and John Berlenbach||,||August 14, 2023|
|Susan Elliot||New London, NH||August 14, 2023|
|Elizabeth and Robert Keener||Needham, MA||August 14, 2023|
|Marjorie Erickson||New London, NH||August 14, 2023|
|Laura Foster||Sunapee, NH||August 14, 2023|
|Maureen Prohl||Elkins, NH||June 26, 2023|
|Catherine Barber||Sommerville, MA||June 26, 2023|
|DOrsey DeWispelaere||New London, NH||June 13, 2023|
|Bill Ross||Seattle, VT||June 09, 2023|
|Susan Sherman||Washington, DC||June 07, 2023|
|Trish Spaziani||Lake City, FL||June 07, 2023|
|Caitlyn Carroll||Framingham, MA||June 05, 2023|
|Robin Catmur-Smith||Watkinsville, GA||June 05, 2023|
|Joan Shaughnessey||Amherst, NH||June 01, 2023|
|Dean Routson||Baltimore, VT||May 31, 2023|
|Catherine’s Kiernan||New London, NH||May 29, 2023|
|Erik Schneiderhan||Newport, VT||May 23, 2023|
|Jennifer Risley||Keene, NH||March 29, 2023|
|Newport, NH||March 28, 2023|
Important Update from Road To Independence
Dear Friends of Road To Independence:
After six years of operation, the Road To Independence Board of Directors has made the painful decision to close Aurora Bakery and its’ pre-vocational training program effective October 27, 2023. Despite the efforts of our dedicated, qualified, hardworking staff, employees, and volunteers; it is not enough to combat the financial and societal circumstances that are beyond our control. The generous donations, fundraising efforts, and grant monies have not been enough, nor will they be enough to sustain the operation of Aurora Bakery and our training program.
The next level of grant funding to support our training program, the need for certified staffing, the increasing cost of doing business, and the unforeseen effects of COVID are greater than the combined efforts that our volunteer board of directors can sustain.
We are grateful for the support of our dedicated employees, volunteers, and customers who have helped shape and sustain our vision over the past 6 years. We have created an amazingly inclusive community. While we close one chapter of the Road To Independence story, we remain dedicated to continuing our mission with our Donkey and Farm program with visits, parades and community events, and the Farmers Market.
Thank you for your support and understanding –
Margaret Coulter and the RTI Board of Directors
Road To Independence
Anonymous Donor Matching Challenge 1:1
A big thank you to an anonymous donor who will match all contributions to our campaign -- dollar for dollar up to $10,000! Please support our campaign today!
$910 matched of $7872
Anonymous Donor Matching Challenge 1:1A big thank you to an anonymous donor who will match all contributions to our campaign -- dollar for dollar up to $10,000! Please support our campaign today!$910 matched of $7872
10% Off at Aurora Bakery
Receive 10% off any regular bakery or freezer purchase at Aurora Bakery. Thank you for your support!