OUR STORY

Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop is a social enterprise bakery that supports adults with brain injury to return to work and life by baking delicious, hand-crafted cupcakes. Sarah Bellum's was founded by Dr. Rik Lemoncello, Associate Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR. As an avid self-taught baker and a clinician/researcher interested in supporting adults with brain injuries, he has dreamed of opening this bakery since earning his PhD at the University of Oregon in 2008. His vision has been to open a bakery staffed by adults with brain injury to support them in returning to work, play, and life! Through his involvement with the local (Portland, OR) brain injury community, and a generous award from Pacific University, this program began development in 2016, and officially launched in summer 2017.

 

Development

In the summer of 2017, we began baking and selling once weekly. Four bakers with brain injury each made several dozen cupcakes, including preparation, baking, and decorating, at a commercial rental kitchen in downtown Portland. The bakers then took their product to the OHSU Farmer's Market at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland to sell them on Tuesdays in June, July, and August. Each baker was coached by a graduate student in the Pacific University speech-language pathology master's program while Dr. Lemoncello supervised the graduate students and managed the entire program. 

 

As we continued to expand and grow, we took our program to a bigger scale in the summer of 2018. With ten different bakers/sales people who survived an acquired brain injury and support volunteer students from speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and rehabilitation psychology programs at three different universities, we baked up even more varieties of delicious cupcakes. At the height of the summer, we brought our fabulous cupcakes to five different local farmer's markets. By the end of the summer, we were preparing twenty different varieties of cupcakes, which helped to introduce flexibility into the kitchen training workshop. We continue to fill custom orders with free delivery service, and were most excited to provide cupcakes for two weddings and several local events.  

 

In the fall of 2018, serendipity continued to align further development as a retail space "found us." Situated in the heart of Multnomah Village in SW Portland, an ideal space opened up that allowed us to expand our services and opportunities in our own "brick and mortar" shop. With the generous support of our donors and sponsors, we raised over $50,000 in September 2018 to renovate this leased space, purchase equipment, and build a commercial kitchen and retail café space. Work was completed in December 2018, and we officially opened our doors for sales on December 11, 2018. With a permanent space that is customized for our operations, we are able to provide ongoing, individualized supports, routine and structure, and expanded opportunities for adults with acquired brain injury to get involved in return-to-work training and supports. 

 

Goals & Purpose

The primary goal at Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop is to assist adults with acquired brain injury to develop functional, job-ready social, cognitive, and physical skills to assist with ongoing development and rehabilitation in a functional, real-world setting. Routine, repetition, customized set-up, and individualized coaching all help to support learning and development for our bakers and sales team, even many years after sustaining severe brain injuries. In addition, students from a variety of programs learn through direct experience: how brain injury can affect a person in their everyday context, how to support individuals with acquired brain injury in functional tasks, and how to collaborate on interdisciplinary teams to provide best practices after brain injury. And, let's not forget the other important goal... to deliver outstanding cupcakes to our customers while also improving public awareness of brain injury. 

Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization (Federal EIN 82-4548535). We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We do not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion (creed), gender, gender identity or expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.

 

Mission: To provide return-to-work opportunities for adults with acquired brain injury through baking and selling amazing baked treats. 

Vision: A world with competitive, gainful employment for every adult with brain injury who wants to work. 

Values: Collaboration, Integration, Purpose, Human Connection, Diversity, Sustainability

 

Sarah Bellum's Board of Directors:

  • Rik Lemoncello, President

  • Mark Palardy, Treasurer

  • Heather Andersen, Secretary

  • Michelle Kinsella

  • Matthew Kampfe 
     

Thank you for your interest in Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop! 

Meet Some of Our Team

Brandon

Brandon Scarth survived a severe traumatic brain injury in 2007 and has made steady progress! He now has his own apartment, uses public transportation, and is ready to try work. He brings enthusiasm and a sense of humor to all his work, takes pride in his work, and has greatly enjoyed baking chocolate-salted caramel cupcakes with Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop, even though he is more of a pie guy. His goal is to become a full-time employee. 

 

Baker, Sales

Brent

Brent Yonkovich is one of the ‘older’ bakers at Sarah Bellum’s. He graduated with honors from Arizona State University’s School of Engineering in 1988 and was employed at Allied Signal in Tempe, Arizona. His whole life changed at age 24 when he sustained a severe TBI from an assault in a night club on July 31, 1988. Since his injury, Brent has lived by the following philosophy: “These are the cards I was dealt in life, and I’m playing the hand the best I can!" He is a great salesman, so come see him in action! His favorite dessert is german chocolate cake. 

Sales, Baker

Brian

Brian Folan survived a severe anoxic brain injury in 2012 and continues to make steady progress! He now lives in a supported apartment setting and watches after his dog. He uses public transportation and is ready to try work. Brian is a stead-fast worker who enjoys keeping busy and producing delicious products. He takes pride is his work and has enjoyed baking the red velvet and iced vanilla latte cupcakes with Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop, even though he is more of a cookie guy. His goal is to keep working at something he enjoys that also helps work on his memory skills. 

Baker

Cory

Cory Janssen survived a severe traumatic brain injury in 2010 and is continuing to make progress! He now lives in a supported apartment setting and also volunteers to coach wheelchair basketball. He uses public transportation and is ready to try work. Cory is a hard-worker who enjoys keeping busy and especially enjoys tasting the leftover cupcakes! He takes pride is his work and has enjoyed baking chocolate-raspberry and red velvet with Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop. His favorite dessert is red velvet cake. His goal is to get back to work in a coffee shop and to eventually become a physical therapist. 

Baker

Deagon

Douglas ("Deagon") Schaumburg survived a severe traumatic brain injury in 2011. He joined our team in December 2018 and is excited about what is happening at Sarah Bellum's. Deagon believes he can use his talents in sales to help generate new customers and opportunities. He loves sailing and looks forward to getting some of the team out on the water. His simple motto for working and life is, "If everyone does a little, then no-one does a lot." 

Sales, Dishwasher

Had

Had Walmer survived a severe traumatic brain injury in 1977 and continues to make progress even many years after his injury! It has taken many years of "on the job learning" (and losing several jobs) to realize that his struggles were related to his traumatic brain injury and coming to accept a new life as a brain injury survivor. Had is also a meditation teacher and regular practitioner of Gold Mind Meditation, which he uses to keep focused and organized. He brings a sense of joy, strong work ethic, and humor to his work while perfecting the lemon-blueberry cupcake recipe. His goal is to help Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop reach its vision to help others with brain injury in their return to work, life, and play. 

Sales, Baker

Isidro

Isidro Martinez-Luna survived a severe traumatic brain injury in 2014 and continues to make steady progress. He fell off a ladder while doing construction work. He now lives in a supported living apartment setting. He enjoys Tae Kwon Do and talking with his family. He knows he is fortunate and grateful to still be here, and knows every day is a blessing! He has fun baking the strawberry-basil cupcake and passing out stickers to the kids at markets. His favorite dessert is vanilla all the way - vanilla cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting. 

Baker

Kristi

Kristi Hansen survived an anoxic brain injury in 2010. After completing two rehabilitation programs, she was able to return to work. After the funding for her position ran out, she decided to take time and ask, “What gives me joy?” The answer? Giving back as a volunteer! Kristi started at Sarah Bellum’s Bakery & Workshop as a volunteer, and we quickly recognized her excellent organization and management capabilities! She is now one of our awesome Front-of-House managers. Her favorite dessert is peanut butter & chocolate ice cream.

Front of House Manager

Maddy

Maddy West survived a severe traumatic brain injury in 2017 and continues to make steady progress! She now lives with her family and dog (Lupe). She uses public transportation and is ready to get back into work. Maddy is a hard-worker who is driven to get back to school and work. She worked as a nursing assistant before her injury and enjoys hospice work! She enjoys keeping busy and has been baking a variety of flavors of cupcakes at Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop. Maddy's favorite dessert is spumoni (look it up if you don't know it!). Her goal is to get back to school and hopefully work in hospice care. 

Baker, Sales

Rik

Dr. Rik Lemoncello oversees the program with an eye for details and a warm sense of appreciation! He is an Associate Professor of speech-language pathology in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Pacific University, with a focus on cognitive rehabilitation to support adults with acquired brain injury through supports for attention, memory, and executive functioning abilities. He is also an avid self-taught baker who started baking pies in his childhood and evolved into a passionate cake baker. He is so excited to combine his passions for baking and cognitive rehabilitation through Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop. Although his full-time job is as a faculty member, he enjoys giving back to the community in special ways like this program. His goal is to develop Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop into a sustainable business that can support a full-time manager and several bakers with paid employment while engaging in important job training and public awareness. 

Managing Director

Faith

Faith Walmer is our fabulous outreach coordinator who makes things happen. ​As both an Employment Specialist for Trellis, Inc. helping people with cognitive disabilities find meaningful employment and as the wife of a man with TBI, Faith has over 35 years of experience navigating the complex systems with which people with brain injury interact, including vocational rehabilitation, Social Security, and support groups. Faith manages corporate and community outreach for Sarah Bellum's Bakery & Workshop and brings a supporting coaching lens to her work, as well as a great sense of humor and fun!

Outreach Director

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7828 SW Capitol Hwy   |    Portland, OR 97219 (USA)   

PH: (971) 249-2870     |     info@sarahbellumsbakery.org

Changing Lives

One Cupcake at a Time

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