Homegirl Cafe supports the emotional, educational, and work needs of former female gang members by offering them hands-on training in a safe work environment. Women and girls considered high-risk in Los Angeles County are in desperate need of basic tools and opportunities to improve their lives. By offering a positive alternative to gang life and the accompanying violence, Homegirl Cafe helps these young women and girls, and now young men employed in the Cafe, to create stronger families, make better choices for themselves, break the cycle of poverty, and increase their self-confidence, making them better leaders and heads of households. We strive to find them work, as well as to create an environment where they can find support, grow, and improve their situation.
Homegirl Café trains high-risk young women in all aspects of the restaurant industry, with 12 training stations and a partnership with Glendale Community College, which provides the curriculum for the education program within the year-long training.
We are approaching the ONE YEAR anniversary of the Homegirl Café job-training certificate program!
a. There are currently 24 trainees in the Homegirl Café program, which now consists of 12 training stations, including gardening, maintenance, line prep, serving, farmers markets, and more.
b. Five Homegirl trainees have been hired outside of the café; one now works at the Black Cat Bakery, one at Chipotle, and three at the Homeboy Diner at Los Angeles City Hall.
c. Two women in the training program are enrolled at Glendale Community College, in the credit campus program for Culinary Arts, and another five at the Garfield non-credit campus for the Hospitality Curriculum.
d. Many of our trainees are also pursuing further education outside of the restaurant industry; one young woman is completing auto mechanic courses at East LA Occupational Center, another is undergoing dental training at UEI, and a third is doing general undergraduate education at East Los Angeles College. Five of our trainees are pursuing their GED at Homeboy Industries.
e. After expressing interest in the gardening station, one of the Homegirl Café trainees completed her master gardener certification at UC Cooperative Extension, and another young woman is a certified Victory Gardener.
f. The “externship” station of the training program has been a great success; one of the young men in the training program has been hired at another restaurant after completing his externship at Greenleaf Gourmet ChopShop, and other trainees have completed or are currently involved in internships at BLD, Café Cito Organico, the Black Cat Café, and the Border Grill. Our hostess is now working one night a week at the Border Grill in order to bring these skills back to Homegirl Café as a trainer.
g. All of the trainees are able to continue life skills and enrichment classes at Homeboy Industries headquarters in addition to the women’s empowerment and hospitality courses that are part of the training program; many have completed parenting, group therapy, and anger management programs at Homeboy Industries.
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