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Inmates baking for kids in need

Inmates at the Utah State Prison bake cakes for Birthday Cakes 4 Free

(KUTV) Prisoners are learning a trade and giving with some cooking skills in the kitchen.

It's part of the DATC's culinary arts program, but while these inmates learn the finer points of cooking to get their degree, they're also making cakes for children and families in need.

These prison inmates are making birthday cakes as part of Birthday Cakes 4 Free, a non-profit organization that gives cakes to kids and seniors who wouldn't be able to get a birthday cake otherwise.

Besides making a difference for those getting special birthday cakes, it's also helping the inmates give back to the community.

For 29-year-old Chelcie Brunson, cooking and baking is changing her life.

An addiction to meth and other crimes have kept her in prison off and on for the last 10 years.

"It's my fifth time in prison in a 10 year span. I'm 29 now and I came when I was first 19," Chelcie explained.

But she says that drug lifestyle is going to change. She started learning to cook through the DATC'S culinary arts program, and now she's giving back.

"We've been doing the cakes for the kids out there," she said. "Last week we did a Transformers one, Optimus Prime."

Mary Crawford runs the DATC's inmate program and says the cakes are making a difference for kids and for prison inmates. She said over the last few months of working with Chelcie, she's seen an amazing difference.

"I see a completely different girl than one who started when she came out here," Crawford explained.

Michelle Markovic also says the program is changing her life.

"It's hard being a felon. This is going to be my 5th time coming down here, [I] don't want to come back," she said.

For Chelcie, being able to bake cakes for kids in foster care, is personal.

"I used to be one of those kids in foster care," she said. "To know I can give back to a kid in need, that makes me feel really good about myself."

Chelcie is on track to graduate from the culinary arts program in a couple months and get out of prison.

She says she already has a job offer from a hotel, and says this time she's changing her life for good.

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