January 12, 2018 10:44 AM
Jesse Gumtow loves pizza. And he loves to make it. He started the business Howling Moon Pizzeria, thanks to help from the staff at the Duluth Regional Care Center.
Paula Dalbec, program director of Jesse's house, said, "I asked him what would make him happy this year. And he said open a pizza place. So I said, Ok, let's make that happen."
So the team found a recipe, and played around with the toppings. Jesse likes werewolves and monsters, hence the name Howling Moon. He's familiar with pizza, because he used to work at Pizza Hut.
"When I started working at Pizza Hut a few years ago, I got some ideas, and looked at some recipes. Stuff like that," he explained.
He's not taking any outside orders yet. But he's fed others at the DRCC. It's been a wonderful success, so far.
Wren Umlauf is a program assistant who works closely with Jesse. "Getting to see him excited about all of these things, it's the greatest feeling. THese guys get overlooked sometimes, in what they want to do. It's so great seeing him excited about everything."
But the DRCC needs more help, to help others like Jesse realize their dreams. Michelle Hooey is the program manager. "The industry in Minnesota is struggling to find individuals to do direct support work, and even to become more of a leader, in management." She told she started at an entry level job, and worked her way up. "It isn't a regular job. It's a people job, and helping them realize what they want to do in life."
Umlauf said work keeps things interesting. "Every day is a surprise. There's always fun stuff to do. It never feels like work," he added.
DRCC helps about 350 people each year throughout our region. If you're interested in working with them:
Updated: January 12, 2018 10:44 AM
Created: January 11, 2018 04:26 PM
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