How in the world did we become so uptight about sex? I’m gonna let her explain.
This story was originally shared on Capital One.
Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.
"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.
While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.
Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.
La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.
That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.
Photo courtesy of Capital One
The organization also offers participants the opportunity to enroll in its Culinary Small Business Incubator, a 9-week training course that teaches participants to create and scale their own food-based startups.
During that program, LA Cocina VA provides participants with support for developing the internal operations of their businesses and provides a shared kitchen for community members to rent space at affordable rates.
Patricia Funegra, who founded La Cocina VA in 2014, said that helping people like Klohr is exactly why she wanted to create the incubator.
"I have firsthand experience of the difficulties of being an immigrant and person of color in America," said Funegra. "At the same time, I also know the enormous opportunities that exist here to improve people's lives."
With the help of funding from Capital One, the center has been able to support 160 participants since opening with roughly 85% of graduates being hired for jobs in the food industry upon completion.
La Cocina VA also received support from Capital One's Community Finance team as it provided financing for the construction of Gilliam Place, an affordable housing unit in which La Cocina VA moved its operations into in 2020.
After moving into Gilliam Place, Funegra launched the Zero Barriers Training and Entrepreneurship Center, a hub for startup founders that includes a kitchen incubator and a community cafe to provide workforce development opportunities for residents.
That support comes as part of the Capital One Impact Initiative, a multi-million dollar commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity.
La Cocina VA students also worked alongside Capital One Cafe ambassadors to learn skills in management and personal finance.
Photo courtesy of Capital One
"The COVID-19 pandemic forced entrepreneurs, especially people of color and immigrants, to shift their entire business models just to survive," said Emilia Lopez, the Senior Vice President of US Card Customer Resiliency, who serves on La Cocina VA's Board of Directors. "As a La Cocina VA board member, I am proud of the commitment and support Capital One provides La Cocina VA and thankful for their effort this past year to help entrepreneurs quickly adapt their businesses to support alternative dining options."
La Cocina VA is also in constant communication with employers, partners, hotels and restaurants to make them aware of their pipeline of graduates.
"La Cocina VA taught me not just the physical work that goes into baking and cooking but also how to have a good understanding to mentally and financially launch my business," said Klohr. "They're helping me make those connections and I know they'll always have my back."
Sometimes sighted people can easily forget that beauty isn't just something for the eyes to experience. It can be heard, smelled, and touched as well. Nowhere was this more evident than at Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro's wedding on October 2.
Anthony is a blind Paralympian and winner of the gold medal in the 2018 USA Judo National Championships for Blind & Visually Impaired. He's also an accomplished guitar player and motivational speaker.
Kelly Ann wanted her husband to experience her in a beautiful dress so instead of having one designed that was pleasing to the eye, she reached out to Loulette Bride to make one that felt amazing to the touch.
"Kelly really wanted to ... make it really special for me," he told Newsweek. "She went above and beyond" to find the wedding dress, which was made "tactilely pleasing" with use of chiffon, lace, silk, and velvet.
The dress has a beautiful fringe on the arms that looks angelic when she waved her arms. It probably feels wonderful, too.
In a traditional wedding, the groom isn't allowed to see the bride in her dress until she walks down the aisle. At the Ferraro wedding, he wasn't allowed to touch the dress until that magic moment.
"She wouldn't let me know anything about it until she came down the aisle and I got to touch it, so it was incredible," he said. "It was so beautiful to me ... I could picture her in my head perfectly," said Ferraro.
"The textures are everything," said Ferraro. "I see through my fingers, and through my hands, and through ... touch."
A video clip of the wedding posted by Anthony on social media has gone viral because people love the idea that beauty isn't just about what we see with our eyes. Since it was posted on October 13 it has over 550,000 views.
One commenter called the dress "the sweetest thing ever."
🤍🎥I married my camera person @turmericteatime #blind #wedding #relationshipgoals #lucky #pov
The couple met in 2018 after being introduced by friends. Anthony told USA Today he felt an "instant connection" when they first met. Their relationship inspired Kelly Ann to learn how to create a safe living space for Anthony by putting bubble wrap or pillows over sharp objects in the house.
She also learned to appreciate his love of the feel of soft fabrics such as velvet.
Studies show that blind people have heightened senses of hearing, smell and touch. Researchers from Society for Neuroscience also found that blind people have the ability to process sensations associated with touch faster than sighted people.
"Our findings reveal that one way the brain adapts to the absence of vision is to accelerate the sense of touch," Daniel Goldreich, PhD, said according to Science Daily. "The ability to quickly process non-visual information probably enhances the quality of life of blind individuals who rely to an extraordinary degree on the non-visual senses."
The wedding dress was an incredibly thoughtful gift for Kelly Ann to give her husband on their wedding day. It also sends a wonderful message to the rest of the world. Every couple is different. Every person is different. But when we branch out and learn to experience the world the way others do, we can find beauty in places we never imagined.
When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.
Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.
"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."
Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."
That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."