Licking County Man Creates Opportunities For Special Needs Children By Creating School-Run Bakery

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UPDATED: Wednesday April 30, 2014 6:38 PM

Walter Gloshinski wants to give his students at Newark High School something they can wrap their heads and their hearts around.

When 10TV visited Gloshinski, he was singing a song about finding your way on a long road. His road offers help to other people.

For Gloshinski, it happened years ago when his career was just music. He was playing the harmonica for some special needs children, and he decided it was something that he needed to pursue. So, he went to college in his 30s to become a special education teacher.

He could also focus on another love of his life – cooking. Gloshinski says it’s practical for his students.

“Most of my students operate between the first and third grade level in academics. There are no jobs out there for first to third grade academics, but there's tons of jobs out there for entry-level food service,” explains Gloshinski.

He wanted his kids to have a shot at those jobs, so he left limits behind and brought his dream of running a commercial kitchen at a high school to Newark.

“And I made an appointment with the special ed. director and said this is what I want to do. And she said, that's a beautiful idea and I'll work with you on it,” said Gloshinski.

It led to the creation of the Smiling With Hope Bakery.

While most students go to traditional classes, Walter's kids weigh the homemade dog biscuits they bag for sale. They wash dishes. They roll and toss dough. And they cook – pizza, cookies and bagels.

They sell everything they produce to keep their licensed kitchen running.

“And I could stand back and see them all working, in symphony, on their own” he adds.

It’s a symphony that wouldn't make music without its conductor.

“Just the fact he's doing this for special needs students, oh man, there's a lot to be said about Mr. G,” said student Gage Smith.

“He changed my life when I came here,” said student Brittany Ferrin.

The skills they pick up help them write their own recipe for success. Walter hopes former students will share their successes when they see him in the future.

“Then they could tell me about their life, how they're working, how they have an apartment, how they're happy - that's everything.”

Three of the students have already found jobs in food service off-campus. Walter says his goal is to build on his dream and make the Smiling With Hope Bakery a template for other schools to model.

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