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Aurora Bakery and Road to Independence

Campaign Introduction:

We dare to dream of a road to independence for all!


Funds Raised


Funding Goal

Oct 2023


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Funds Raised


Funding Goal

Oct 2023


Raised Percent :
This campaign is not currently active.
Or purchase a reward below if available!
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Campaign Story

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.

About 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.

Bakery Update

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


Campaign Contributions

Name Location Date
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

Campaign Updates

  • 10-5-23

    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

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  • 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



10% Off at Aurora Bakery

Receive 10% off any regular bakery or freezer purchase at Aurora Bakery. Thank you for your support!

Estimated Delivery: July, 2023
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