This Coffee Shop Hires Homeless Teens And Gives Them Something ‘No One Else Would’ (VIDEO)
There’s something to be said about people who just flat-out want to help and solve issues within their communities. Madison Chandler and Mark Smesrud are those kind of people, and the impact they’ve made with one small coffee shop has changed numerous lives.
Chandler and Smesrud co-founded the nonprofit Purple Door Coffee two years ago, which hires homeless youth “who have been homeless and want to leave homelessness behind.” But this cafe doesn’t stop at giving homeless teens and young adults jobs. Taking in the young homeless three at a time, the shop actually gives its employees a 52-week curriculum along with their employment, which teaches far more than what one can learn in school – such as much-needed skills like budgeting and banking. Employees also learn how to keep their health and well-being – whether physical, emotional or mental – in check. If that weren’t enough, the organization also helps them find a place to live.
You can learn more about how the cafe operates from the short video [below.] It’s beyond inspiring.
Smesrud, who is the program director for the shop, says of the company’s ethos:
“We believe that every human being has incredible value. It’s not defined by their successes or their failures, but the fact that they’re human.”
Smesrud explains that he and Chandler decided a coffee shop was the best catalyst for their mission because it allows for employees to be exposed to and learn a variety of skills that they can take elsewhere, such as customer service, community building and cleanliness. He said:
“Street kids – it’s just such a distinct culture, that they needed something that was very specific to them. I saw a hope that was present there that like had been squashed out so much, but they kind of constantly said ‘No. I’m still going to be hopeful.’”
Chandler explains that its name, “Purple Door Coffee,” also has significance. The color purple represents royalty, because they “want every single person that walks through our door – whether it’s an employee or a customer or a vendor or whoever it is – to be treated like royalty and to be given a fair chance, no matter what they’ve done or haven’t done.”
For people like 23-year-old Jenna Williams, this coffee shop has made all the difference.
“The Purple Door coffee family gave me the chance no one else would. They understood. I’ve never felt so at home. This mission works and I am proud to experience it. This is exactly what us ‘street kids’ needed.”
After her year-long training with Purple Door Coffee, Williams was able to get a full-time job working at Starbucks.
Featured image courtesy of Purple Door Coffee.
Click the link to go directly to the article to see the video: