Wildflyer Coffee has a mission. The Minneapolis-based company offers youths experiencing homelessness a chance to make a change and uses coffee as the vehicle for that change. Through their nine-month Youth Development Academy, participants receive employment training in the coffee sector as well as life skills through “paid employment and classroom sessions focused on independent living skills.” After the nine months, the “youth are eligible to receive a year of post-program follow-up,” which includes help with job placement.
Currently, Wilflyer operates at the Fulton and the Linden Hills Farmers Markets. But not for much longer, as the coffee brand has just announced they are looking for a permanent storefront to better serve the youth in their program. Wildflyer has also announced an as-yet released IndieGoGo campaign to help fund the forthcoming build-out. Co-founder Griswold tells Sprudge:
We're opening a brick and mortal location for two main reasons; we've had overwhelming demand from young people in our community who want to work with us, to receive dignified, gainful employment and to be a part of what we offer in our classroom development academy focused on employment and life skills. We can only hire a small number of youth in the mobile setting and there are barriers in terms of changing locations, seasonality, and weather. A retail location would allow us to hire three times more youth per year than we can hire now. Secondly, the number one thing youth say when we ask them what they want more of in our program is hours. With the cost of living increasing at such a rapid rate and affordable housing disappearing having a sustainable income is incredibly important if youth want to exit street life. Our youth want to work more and we want to give them that opportunity! With a retail location being open seven days a week we can employ youth between 20-40 hours per week which will help youth achieve independence from systems and foster increased life stability further limiting barriers to future employment and ultimately housing.
But in the meantime, MPLS neighbors Dogwood Coffee are holding a throwdown to help jumpstart the fundraising efforts. Taking place Thursday, October 17th at their East Lake location, Dogwood is hosting the Throwdown Against Youth Homelessness with all the proceeds going to Wildflyer’s brick and mortar location funding.
Free to attend and spectate, the Throwdown Against Youth Homelessness costs $5 to enter, but even with the proceeds going directly to Wildflyer, there are tons of prizes and swag to be had thanks to event sponsors, including: Chemex, Dogwood, Leather Works Minnesota, Cafe Imports, Barista Magazine, and True Stone Coffee Roasters. Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place as well as some other fun freebies for attendees.
At the throwdown, Wildflyer will also be unveiling their “Bend The Arc” campaign. The following day, the coffee company will also be holding a Launch Party for their IndieGoGo campaign at 56 Brewing, which will be a night of beer, music, special prizes, and perks.
The Throwdown Against Youth Homelessness kicks off Thursday, October 17th at 7:00pm at the Dogwood Coffee at 4021 East Lake Street. For more information on Wildflyer coffee or the throwdown, visit their official website and Facebook event page, respectively.
Images via Wildflyer Coffee