Out of the Blue Granola Instills Confidence Through Skills Development.

by | Apr 2024

SUSAN BINKLEY, founder of Blue Monarch and Out of the Blue Granola, immersed herself in the bakery business seemingly overnight. Running that bakery introduced her to a population that she never knew existed. In her bakery, she encountered women who bore the physical scars of abuse, manifesting as bruises and black eyes. They shared stories of being trapped in their homes or abandoned in desolate woods without any means of escaping. These ladies desperately sought assistance yet lacked the necessary support and resources to break free from the cycle of abuse or surmount their formidable circumstances.

Years before the bakery took shape, a vivid dream surfaced for Binkley, where she received a detailed manual on how to begin a shelter facility, rebuilding the lives of countless women and children. It wasn’t just about safety; it was about self-sufficiency. Women and children needed a steady income, essential skills, and a foundation to forge their own paths.

Then, while swaying in a hammock one day, she grappled with how to impact the lives of the women employed at the bakery. Witnessing the struggles of women at her bakery led her to find solutions. And so, the idea for Out of the Blue Granola bloomed. 

Out of the Blue Granola isn’t just about creating delicious cereal and healthy snacks. It’s a second chance for women who have endured the most challenging times. The company provides on-site job training, helping women develop valuable skills they can use to get other jobs in the future. It also gives them a safe and supportive environment to rebuild their lives.

Deanna Howell, executive director of Blue Monarch, said, “A lot of the women don’t realize they have any value or anything to contribute to an employer.” 

She continued, “They come to learn that they do have value, and they do have things they can add and contribute to any business or employer.”

One of Out of the Blue Granola’s most significant attributes is helping women overcome the fear of being a felon and never getting a job. The company’s positive work environment and focus on skills development help women see they have something to offer. 

“I love to teach that the perseverance and courage it took for them to overcome some difficult and even traumatic experiences helped to develop valuable strengths that can be applied in the workplace,” Binkley remarked. 

Out of the Blue Granola is breaking the cycle of poverty for many families. The company helps women earn an honest income and support their families.

“It brings a whole new level of confidence in their ability to provide for their families in the future and make sure that they’re stable and secure moving forward,” Howell added.

The flavors of Out of the Blue Granola are as unique as the stories of the women who make it. “Honey and oats” and “cranberry and coconut” are granola flavors from Binkley’s bakery in 2015. The company has since developed a new variety of granola, “dark chocolate and sea salt”, based on the input of its employees.

“Our granola is all-natural, and we use local wildflower honey. It is hand-baked by women recovering from abuse and addiction. We put it into the oven six different times to give it the perfect crunch and the richest flavor possible,” said Binkley.

This company creates second chances for many women and their families. One inspiring story of Out of the Blue Granola is that of Tasha Williams. Despite a debilitating car accident and a grim prognosis, Williams found a path to regain her health and thrive at Out of the Blue Granola.

Williams was on 18 different medications at the time due to her accident and was told that she would never be able to work again. But through her job with Out of the Blue Granola, she went from working one day out of the week to five days. She is now the director of residential life at Blue Monarch.

So, the next time you reach for a handful of Out of the Blue Granola, remember it’s more than just a delicious snack. It transports you into a space of safety, a symphony of second chances, a taste of hope, a shout of redemption, and a reminder that even the most shattered dreams can rise again. 

By savoring a handful of granola, you become part of the story – a link in the chain of hope stretching from Out of the Blue Granola’s kitchen into the world.GN

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