A Dayton dog treat bakery staffed by young people who have faced addiction and mental health disorders shows how employment is crucial to recovery, health officials said Wednesday.
Lindy’s Bakery on South Patterson Boulevard in Dayton is run by Daybreak — a nonprofit that serves at-risk youth. It offers training and employment to those in recovery so they can increase their workplace skills and gain experience.
Officials from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services lauded Daybreak’s program Wednesday as an example of the type of solution the state wants to invest in to help those in recovery become contributing members of their communities again.
That includes Jay Paxson, an employee at the bakery.
“A year and a half ago I was not in the place I am in now,” Paxson said. “I was homeless. I was living in abandoned houses and I was a full-blown heroin addict. Life was not easy. I had undiagnosed depression and undiagnosed anxiety.”
Now the 24-year-old is nearly one year in recovery. After drug treatment he worked his way up to being a lead employee at the bakery.
“That was amazing to me,” he said. “I’ve never been a lead anywhere in my life. Even before I had a drug problem I had trouble keeping jobs.”
Now he said he enjoys coming to work every day, and takes pride in the responsibility of being in charge of others. He wants to work toward being a drug and alcohol addiction counselor.
Daybreak’s programs serve youth ages 10 to 24 who are struggling with homelessness, drug addiction, mental health challenges and underemployment.
“I love bragging on Daybreak,” said Kathy Hooks, Daybreak’s employment initiative director. “We have seen how employment is treatment … they have created purpose in their lives.”
It’s important that the state help programs like Daybreak, said Sandra Brasington, DeWine’s western Ohio liaison.
“The governor’s vision for Ohio’s future is for every child to have the opportunity to live to their God-given potential,” she said.
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DeWine has proposed in the state budget $550 million for mental health counseling and wrap-around supports like after-school mentoring.
Brasington visited the Dayton bakery on Wednesday as part of In-Demand Jobs Weeks. Dozens of events are being held across Ohio through Friday, including several local job fairs, the groundbreaking of Miami Valley Career Technology Center’s new facility and career signing days at local schools.
The idea is to inspire excitement and awareness among students and job seekers of the careers available in their communities.