How a Coffee Shop in Minneapolis is Helping Homeless Youth Find Stability and Success?


A coffee shop in Minneapolis is not only serving delicious drinks and snacks but also providing a lifeline for young people who are experiencing homelessness. Wildflyer Coffee, a nonprofit social enterprise, offers a work training program that helps youth develop professional and personal skills while also connecting them with resources and support.


The Mission of Wildflyer Coffee

Wildflyer Coffee was founded in 2017 by Carley Kammerer, a licensed social worker who has worked with homeless youth for over a decade. She saw the need for a program that would address the barriers and challenges that many young people face when trying to find and keep a job.

According to the Wildflyer Coffee website, the program’s mission is to “end youth homelessness by providing dignified employment, stable housing, and a supportive community.” The program targets youth between the ages of 16 and 24, who are either currently homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The program operates two coffee shops, one in south Minneapolis and one in St. Paul, where the youth work as baristas for four months. During this time, they receive training in hard skills, such as customer service, cash handling, and coffee making, as well as soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. They also have access to financial wellness and mental health support, as well as career counseling and networking opportunities.

The program aims to help the youth achieve stability and success in their lives by providing them with a steady income, a safe and supportive work environment, and a sense of purpose and belonging.

The Impact of Wildflyer Coffee

Wildflyer Coffee has served over 50 youth since its inception and has seen positive outcomes for its participants. According to Kammerer, 90% of the youth who complete the program move on to stable housing, and 80% secure long-term employment or education.

The program also has a lasting impact on the youth’s self-esteem, confidence, and resilience. Many of the youth who have gone through the program have become ambassadors and advocates for Wildflyer Coffee, sharing their stories and inspiring others.

One of the current participants, a 22-year-old who prefers to remain anonymous, told The Imprint that the program has changed his life for the better. He said that he had a traumatic childhood, which led him to experience homelessness, addiction, and incarceration. He said that Wildflyer Coffee has given him a chance to rebuild his life and pursue his dreams.

“They truly care more about you and your success as a young individual than your work output,” he said. “They’re not just here to make money; they’re here to make a difference.”

The Challenge of Homelessness

Homelessness is a complex and multifaceted issue that affects millions of people in the United States and around the world. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there were about 580,000 people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2020, a 2.2% increase from the previous year. Of these, about 35,000 were unaccompanied youth under the age of 25, a 6.8% increase from the previous year.

Homeless youth face many risks and challenges, such as violence, exploitation, mental health issues, substance abuse, and a lack of education and employment opportunities. They also face stigma and discrimination from society, which can make it harder for them to access services and support.

Homelessness is not a choice but a result of systemic and structural factors, such as poverty, racism, trauma, family conflict, and a lack of affordable housing. Ending homelessness requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach that addresses the root causes and the immediate needs of the people affected.

Wildflyer Coffee is one of the many organizations and initiatives that are working to end youth homelessness by providing opportunities, resources, and support to the young people who need them the most. By combining social enterprise and social work, Wildflyer Coffee is creating a model that is both sustainable and impactful.

As Kammerer said, “We’re not the solution to homelessness, but we’re a piece of the puzzle.”

By Andrea Wilson

Andrea Wilson is a talented junior content and news writer at Scope Sweep. With a passion for writing and a dedication to delivering high-quality content, Andrea has quickly established herself as a valuable contributor to the team. Graduating from the prestigious University of Sydney, she brings a strong academic foundation and a keen eye for detail to her work. Andrea's articles cover a wide range of topics, from breaking news to informative features, ensuring that readers are well-informed and engaged. With her ability to research and present information in a clear and concise manner, Andrea Wilson is committed to providing readers with accurate and captivating content. Stay connected and up-to-date with Andrea's compelling articles on Scope Sweep

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