Joe Squared owner Joe Edwardsen does more than bake great pizzas. He gives back to the community, too. Baltimore magazine intern Autumn Rose, a Towson University student, tells the story of Joe and one of his workers. Here are her words:
Joe Squared and Baltimore nonprofit Hand in Hand are teaming up on Monday to throw a 20th birthday party for Corey Terry—the first one he has celebrated as a free man in a while. For the past two years, Terry has been in jail on his birthday.
Terry was able to turn his life around with the help of Hand in Hand, founded by Jessica Turral after she graduated from Johns Hopkins with a goal to change the lives of incarcerated juveniles. "Our mission is to create self-awareness in young men, so they begin to see that jail is no longer an option, because they're better than that," she says.
Joe Edwardsen is proud to be a part of that community effort as a mentor to Corey Terry. When Hand in Hand came to Edwardsen asking if he had any jobs available at his pizzeria, he said yes and put Terry to work.
Terry has been at Joe Squared since June, doing just about everything. He cleans, he paints, he landscapes, whatever Edwardsen asks him to do.
"Corey is a hard worker and a good kid," Edwardsen says. "They keep thanking me for hiring Corey, but it has nothing to do with me. If Corey wasn't a solid worker, I would have fired him."
Terry has nothing but respect and admiration for Edwardsen, the man who looked past his record and gave him a chance. "He's the best boss I've ever had. He teaches me everything, and he picks my head up when I'm looking down," Terry said. "He knows I can do it, and he believes in me."
Edwardsen says Terry even comes in on his days off to take care of the tomato plants that Edwardsen gave him in the rooftop herb garden. "He checks his plants meticulously," Edwardsen said. "He's a good little farmer. I don't think we've had a single caterpillar eat a single tomato so far."
Terry is now enrolled in classes to get his GED. Turral hopes the birthday party for Terry at Joe Squared will be an inspiration to Terry's family and friends.
The next Hand in Hand event will be a fundraiser at Noodles & Company in Towson on Sept. 14 from 6-9 p.m.
So far, the nonprofit has helped over 50 young men in its program inside the Baltimore City Detention Center and in its community program.
Photo courtesy of Joe Squared