My name is Lee, I’m 31 years old and this November marks my second year as a baker at Greyston Bakery. I was born and raised right here in Yonkers by my single mom. At school I tried to be a good kid, but in my neighborhood at that time, it was almost impossible to stay out of trouble – there were gangs everywhere.
In 2008 I was sentenced to 6 years in prison. I was 21 and I had to leave my family for the first time to go upstate. Prison shook my whole life up, and you never get used to it. The day I was released was unreal; I literally could not believe it. I remember listening to my name on the loud speaker and I didn’t move. They called my name four or five times before it clicked – I was finally going home.
I knew the first thing I needed was a job, but it was impossible to find one; everywhere I applied, they asked about a criminal record, and I never got a call back. I was getting desperate and I needed something soon. One night I was hanging with a friend, he worked at Greyston and told me about the Open Hiring policy. I honestly didn’t believe him, that they hire anybody with no questions asked – no questions asked – it sounded too good to be true. But I took a leap and went to put my name on the list the very next day. Later I got a call from Greyston asking if I was still interested in the job. Of course I was!
I started on Nov 4, 2017 and today I work the production line in the artisan bakery that makes the brownies and blondies for Whole Foods Market, & Delta Airlines. Greyston became my second home – and 12 hour days means there’s no time to be out getting into trouble! We’re like family here, we look out for each other, and we all know what it means to be working. There’s a social worker here too, who makes a big difference. She’s helped me find support groups, a good daycare for my daughter, and the new apartment I just moved into with my family. I am so thankful for this job – I want the world for my daughter, and this job helps me do that.