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At Brewhaus Bakery, the menu includes tasty treats and opportunities for workers with disabilities

Posted at 4:30 AM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-28 08:32:42-04

MADEIRA, Ohio -- No parent is ever sure what the future will hold for their newborn child, but two decades ago, Lisa Graham was more anxious than most. 

Her daughter, Natalie, was born with a disability, and Graham knew that would likely mean a lifetime of challenges from a society ill-prepared to accept her as a complete person or give her opportunities to succeed.

"When you have a child with a disability, it's like taking a detour instead of being on the highway," Graham said. "You go down a lot of roads and alleys, and you're not sure where you're going to end up. It's kind of like the great unknown."

She also knew she couldn't control what anyone else did; she could only do her own part to make a better world for Natalie. With that in mind, she opened Brewhaus Bakery, a nonprofit that teaches young adults with disabilities to make specialty dog treats out of microbreweries' spent grains. 

Brewhaus has partnered with local businesses such as Graeter's to sell its treats and further its mission for years, but this week brought a special milestone: The ribbon-cutting for a dedicated Brewhaus location in Madeira. 

Here, it's not just about dog treats -- customers can buy pastries and coffee, and bakers can bond with one another.

"The vision for the bakery is to have a creative, inclusive space where everyone can make, bake and create," Graham said. "I would say today is the end of a lifelong dream, to have a great place for not only my daughter but for a lot of great young adults to come here and be a part of things."

There are two types of workers at Brewhaus, she added. Students from 24 area school districts can come to learn job skills that will help them find employment in the future, while adults can work as full-timers who also mentor younger participants. 

"It's really important to see my vision come to this point," Graham said. "We can find a place for young adults with disabilities to interact and be a part of the community and also find a way to have them build employability, to work on job skills."

They are located at 6927 Miami Avenue in Madeira. All proceeds help keep the program alive.