Give a person baked bread, they eat for a day. Teach a person to bake bread, they eat for a lifetime.
That's a sentiment that Daymara Baker, founder and chief baker at Rockin' Baker Academy, seems to embrace.
The Rockin' Baker Academy, a Fayetteville-based nonprofit bakery and job-training program, is celebrating the accomplishments of its trainees -- even in the face of its impending closure.
The nonprofit organization, which serves the autistic and larger neurodivergent community of Northwest Arkansas, announced that it will close its doors for the final time this Saturday, commemorated by a special 1 p.m. celebration.
And the nonprofit academy has plenty to celebrate.
Over the last six years, more than 50 neurodivergent adults have benefited from the academy's life-changing mission and are now living more confident, independent and dignified lives, the release states.
"First of all, I feel grateful," said Baker. "Grateful for the cadets, their growth, and the impact RBA has had on their families and the larger community. Also, very grateful for the friends and neighbors who contributed to our mission. I want to say thank you."
The release says that due to economic realities and fundraising challenges, the academy will now entrust its mission to the businesses, local governments and citizens of Northwest Arkansas -- at a crucial time for the community's neurodivergent population.
"They've only been told what they can't do," Baker said about many of the trainees who participated in the program. "But Rockin' Baker Academy has proven that they can and will rise to the challenge, if only given a safe space to prove it. Most of all, to prove it to themselves."
According to the release, Rockin' Baker Academy develops job and life skills in individuals with intellectual and developmental differences. Serving a segment of society that faces an 85% unemployment rate, the academy's mission helps participants gain independence and transition into permanent, meaningful employment.
The release wrapped up with one final message for the program's many participants over the past six years:
"Even as Rockin' Baker Academy closes its doors, the door to your future will remain wide open. You've proven your capabilities -- making us very proud. Keep 'Rising Up.'"
Java Dudes Coffee Co. and Mavis WineCo. recently announced in a press release their collaboration for Downtown Rogers Art District's newest Makers Market.
The RAD on 2nd takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at 718 N. Second St. in Rogers and features a variety of local artisans and vendors, the release states.
Mavis WineCo., Arkansas's first natural wine bar and bottle shop, is showcasing a selection of natural, organic, biodynamic, minimal intervention and sustainable wines, the release states.
Founders Crawfish Boil
The 13th annual Founders Crawfish Boil scuttles into Fayetteville on Saturday.
The event will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at George's Majestic Lounge and will benefit the Children's Safety Center of Washington County, according to a Facebook post by Delta Crawfish NWA.
There will also be live music by Maud Crawford, the release states.
A few recent closures worth mentioning...
Mojo's Pints & Pies
The original location of Mojo's Pints & Pies closed its doors for good recently.
The pizza restaurant, located at 1200 Garland Ave. in Fayetteville, announced in a Facebook post that May 27 would be their last day open.
The restaurant's post also stated that Mojo's would continue operating their other Fayetteville shop at 2630 E. Citizens Drive.
Bliss Cupake Cafe
May 25 was the last day that Bliss Cupcake Cafe was open in Fayetteville and Rogers, according to a Facebook post by the business.
In their social media post, the cupcake shop thanked the community for 14 years of support while also reminding readers that their Jonesboro and Fort Smith locations are still open.
After many years, Western Sizzlin will be closing its Van Buren location.
The restaurant announced in a Facebook post that June 16 will be their last day of operations.
We'll be back next week with more restaurant news across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. Has one recently opened or closed near you? Does your favorite spot have a new menu? Let us know. Email email@example.com.