For 30-year-old Shareena Casterline, baking has always been an escape that’s provided her with an opportunity to live out her dreams in spirit while she faced the harsh realities of the foster care system.
At the tender age of three, Casterline was given up by her parents and then taken in by other family members who promised to care for her, one being her aunt and the other her grandmother. Both acting parental units walked away and the Colorado native was forced to move between the foster care system and group homes.
Through all of this, nudges of discouragement were hurled at her, causing a hit to the young lady’s self-esteem and faith.
“I was told I would never amount to anything. I kept thinking ‘let me get through this and then I’ll start my life.’”
The experience that allowed her to begin anew, launched her into a successful New York City baking career, a journey that she got too by overcoming the loneliness and finding acceptance within herself and the family that adopted her at the age of 10.
“Baking became an escape from my past and I was able to accept my adoptive family,” says Casterline to People. “The first time I realized I loved myself was when I baked a chocolate chip cookie, I knew this was my calling,” she said.
After putting herself through college and then attending culinary school, the young lady ventured out at 25-years-old to live out her dreams and open an e-commerce bakery called Madison Street Bakehouse, a place known for their “Maddy” cookie which includes roasted ground almonds with flavors of citrus and Madagascar vanilla.
In the last five years, she has gotten a steady stream of clients from her hard work, saying, “All it took was some faith, passion and a little baking love.”
An opportunity that allowed her to leave her full time job and pursue her business a couple of months ago.
The power of her success she reiterates is based on overcoming her past, including her college and culinary school efforts that were beyond difficult. Saying, “it nearly broke me.” “But I knew I could succeed on my own.”
Casterline’s story is one of a twelve part video series created by People Magazine and called,‘American Doers’.
(H/T People Magazine)