New Bakery to Employ Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

bear's boomin bakery

Thanks to Jennifer Allen for the tip and photo!

Now you can feel even better about eating delicious locally-baked goods. A new bakery slated to open soon on Columbus Avenue will offer baked goods to the public while creating a learning environment for students from the Manhattans Children’s Center, an Upper West Side school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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Bear’s Boomin’ Bakery will open in space that once housed Daniello’s Pizza. Next door, where Simche cleaners was once located, will be classrooms, offices and other school facilities. An ongoing $4 million capital campaign will fund the expansion (including the bakery) to the new location at 715 Columbus Avenue (between 94th and 95th streets). The school will also remain at its two current addresses, 111 W.92nd Street and 124 W.95th Street. MCC has so far raised about $3.2 million toward the $4 million goal. Of that, $300,000 has been earmarked for the bakery.

On its website, MCC notes that finding appropriate job training opportunities for older students has been a challenge, so the school decided to open its own bakery to create opportunities for students to acquire skills, experience and know-how needed for employment.

“MCC’s Bear’s Boomin’ Bakery will provide a tailored learning environment …. to enable our older learners to engage in and practice real-world employment and self-management skills — the skills necessary for independent living upon graduation,” the website states.

Artistic renderings of the bakery show delicious-looking cakes and other pastries displayed behind glass and a modern, inviting interior, not unlike any other new eatery.

There’s no word on where the bakery’s name came from, but the website states it was offered as a naming opportunity – a form of fundraising in which a donor can pay for the right to name a room, facility or other space, in this case the bakery.

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Joseph Alesandro, MCC’s head of admissions, said the school is hoping the neighborhood will welcome the new shop.

“We are hoping the community will rally around it and support us,” he said.

Neighbor Jennifer Allen told ILTUWS she noticed the Boomin’ Bear logo on the front door while recently walking by and was glad to see the two long-vacant storefronts would again be busy with activity.

“I was so excited when I saw the sign on the door,” she said. “I said ‘Ooh, something’s coming.’”

A retired educator and lifelong Upper West Sider, Allen is looking forward to the bakery, especially since it will provide vocational education and experience for young people with autism.

“I’m really excited about this opening. It will benefit the community and also benefit the students by teaching them job skills. I love the idea of getting baked goods and helping the students.”

MCC was founded in 2007. It educates children and young adults ages 5 to 21.


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