Our journey sharing Full Circle stories continues. Today, we reveal Raymond’s story: a true testimony to our community of dreamers and achievers. Through him, we hope you will see the inspirational strength and love that defines Greyston Bakery.
Raymond grew up in Yonkers smelling the delicious chocolate scent which signifies proximity to the bakery producing over 30,000 pounds of brownies daily. Raymond’s father left he and his mother at an early age and his hardworking mother had to work long hours. Raymond began selling drugs with some friends but after spending time in prison far away from his mother and the rest of his family, Raymond resolved to change his life and become a better person.
Raymond faced huge challenges at this time. He wanted to let go of his past, forgive himself and find a meaningful job. However, it quickly became clear that many places of business would not hire him because of the person he used to be. He worked for some time at a hospital and at Snapple before signing his name on the Greyston Bakery hiring list. Raymond was determined to work at the bakery, a place he felt would truly accept him. When he received the call about an open position, he felt overjoyed at the prospect of a new beginning. He describes being “welcomed with open arms” on his first day.
It has been a year since Raymond’s first day and he has grown to love the community. Sunitha, Account Manager for Ben & Jerry’s, inspires Raymond daily. “I get my energy from Suni. She stands out because she comes into work every day with a smile on her face. That is not an easy thing to do and I respect her for that.” Raymond finds that most of the staff know how to leave their troubles outside the door and share happiness and encouragement within the walls of the bakery. He feels he learns something new every day from all of his coworkers and is inspired to be amongst an incredible group of people who have overcome immense challenges. Each day, Raymond strives to make the people around him laugh. “Greyston has truly given me the opportunity to put my past behind me. I am surrounded by people who want to make a change and have earned that change.”
Raymond has four beautiful children: three boys and one girl, all of whom love to visit their father at work and eat freshly baked Cookie Thins. His daughter has even requested her own oven so she can bake like her father!
We are proud to announce that Raymond has interviewed for and accepted a new position with Greyston Foundation. In just a few short days, he will join the Maintenance Team, a new challenge and exciting opportunity to learn additional skills. We will be sad to say good-bye to Raymond at the bakery, but are always happy to see members of the Greyston community continue their journey in bigger and better ways. He is incredibly excited to dedicate his time to gaining more skills. “I will miss everybody at the Bakery. Thank you to the whole team for letting me share my story and for inspiring me to be my best.”