2019 Grantee Profile: Lolita Richards
Funded by ArtReach for a third and (sadly) final time, Wee Bake was run at the East Scarborough Storefront by the incredible Lolita Richards throughout summer 2019.
Founder and CEO of Made by Moi Desserts, Lolita fell in love with baking at the age of eight when she was gifted her very first Easy Bake Oven. Her passion for baking and perfecting her craft lead her to successfully Graduate from George Brown College, Baking and Pastry Arts Course. Combining her entrepreneurial spirit with determination, perseverance, and the support of family and friends, Lolita began her first business venture, Made By Moi, Cakes in 2013.
After a few years of building up her business, in 2017, Lolita applied for and successfully received her first of three ArtReach grants. “As a young woman growing up in low income neighborhoods like Warden Woods and Malvern, I could directly see the positive impacts after school programs had on the youth that reside within these communities. After witnessing the impact and importance of these programs I decided that, whenever I got the chance, I would work with youth in these same communities. The great free programs that I have attended and worked with over the years have inspired me to create an opportunity for youth in low income families just like the opportunities that were created for me”. And with that, the Wee Bake Program was born!
Throughout it’s three ArtReach-funded programming runs, Wee Bake worked with aspiring young bakers in Scarborough’s West Hill neighbourhood, combining culinary education with financial literacy, and providing participants with free baking supplies to continue their learning at home. Through every workshop, participants also gained the soft skills essential to working in a kitchen- communication, team work, patience, organization, leadership, and time management.
The project was extremely well received, and participants had nothing but positive feedback to share. One participant shares, "Wee Bake is an amazing program that I love to have spent my summer at. I love how we got to bake so many delicious treats and really bond with other youth. I am really excited to come back next summer, and I hope that next year the baking sessions will be longer!”. Another participant adds, "Wee Bake is awesome! The last three years have taught me a lot and helped me to bring my inner passion out. Wee Bake helped me express myself and learn new things. And most importantly, it gave me the chance to make many new friends that I can actually call family”.
So what’s next for Wee Bake? Lolita hopes to merge her existing company with the program to create an employment social enterprise! Her plan is that “Wee Bake ESE will be a 12-week training program that will consist of participants from underserved communities learning employability skills, baking skills and basic financial literacy skills. Youth will then be linked to employment or education with the opportunity for successful participants to be employed with my company Made by Moi, Desserts”.
We wish all the best to Lolita, Made By Moi, and Wee Bake, and cannot wait to see where this incredible program goes!