Bloom with a View

Edgewater Beach has always been one of my favorite places… the sand, the lake, the pier, the beautiful view of Cleveland’s skyline, the lovely Willow tree at the edge of the water, the diversity. I loved it when it was a little sketchy, and now that it’s trendy, I love it still.

Edgewater Live. It truly breathes life into this city beach. I spent a recent Thursday night with my tween daughter, Megan, at this family-friendly event. But we weren’t there for the fabulous food trucks, the awesome entertainment, the beer booths, or the Citizen Bank freebies, although we both enjoyed some of those perks. Megan and I were there to check out another Cleveland treasure. Tucked in the far west corner of Edgewater Beach, there was a flower beginning to bloom.13907040_10208172940814978_5502859521524111314_n

On July 28th, during their Red, White & Bloom celebration, Towards Employment marked 40 years of “empowering individuals to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through employment.” Since 1976, this non-profit organization has helped over 122,000 disadvantaged Clevelanders train for and obtain employment. Last year alone, they helped 475 people find good jobs; 300 of those individuals had criminal records.

As part of the festivities, each guest enjoyed a boxed dinner from Bloom Bakery, a Towards Employment social venture that has taken root in downtown Cleveland over the last year, providing skills training and employment to low-income and disadvantaged adults. Utilizing top-notch baking techniques from European artisan bakery specialist Maurice Chaplais, Bloom offers a wide selection of handcrafted items, from breads and pastries to sandwiches and salads.

Megan and I sat down on our free Citizens Bank beach mat to enjoy our Bloom with a view. Megan chose the Catalan Chicken sandwich, and I went with Tuna Nicoise, for a moment pretending like I was in Nice, France rather than Cleveland, Ohio. The food was fresh and absolutely delicious. Megan was overjoyed with her selection, and I have to say, the Tuna Nicoise rivaled and may even have surpassed the one I had in Nice 12 years ago. And let’s not forget dessert–a strawberry tart that was to live for.

The bakery’s slogan speaks volumes: “Creating jobs is our secret ingredient.” And the secret ingredient makes all the difference.

By helping people overcome barriers to job placement and retention, Towards Employment provides nourishment that goes much deeper than a single dessert or donation. We are all flowers. We all need a balance of sunlight and rain to bloom. Towards Employment provides sunlight to those that have been stuck in the rain too long.

Support Towards Employment. By connecting employers with people who can do the job and helping job seekers move forward on their path to prosperity, their efforts benefit our whole community.

Be a mentor. Pathways to Work, funded by the Department of Labor, recruits mentors to guide, support, and inspire job seekers.

Help yourself! Stop by Bloom Bakery for a croissant, a sandwich, or a cup of coffee. The food is incredible, and I’m pretty sure the calories don’t count when you’re investing in such a great cause. There are two convenient locations: Bloom at Public Square and Bloom at Campus District, and they also cater events throughout Cleveland.

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