"Turn-around Café" Provides At-Risk Youth with Invaluable Skills
A project of Assured Family Services, Turn Around Café originated from discussion regarding how to assist the young people of Detroit as old as 16 who are caught up in the adult justice system. When both the system and elder inmates could no longer handle the teens, just one question remained in the mind of Café Coordinator Julie Rencsak, “How can we get these young people back where they belong?”.
Using the point-of sale-system Loyverse POS, the youth learn step by step to run a local café under a ‘no-firing policy’. Throughout the intensive 12 week success-based work readiness experience, teens gain leadership, communication and service skills as well as invaluable CV credentials providing in Julie’s words, “a status the kids have never had”. Amongst many life-revitalising stories, we were told of one previously homeless teen who after the process had returned to full time, tax paying employment.
Despite Julie’s inexperience with POS systems and being, as she put it, “totally out of my element”, there’s certainly no turning back for this café as they take on-board their second cohort with a heart that is constantly looking for ways to improve and expand. They’re currently searching for partners who, in understanding the value of these few volunteers’ efforts, will provide investment for the development of a corner shop which only recently had its first sink installation. And they’re not only planning to develop within their café- they’re also preparing a curriculum that will enable anyone in any state, or country, to take up a similar heroic role.