A homegirl at work!
Homegirl Cafe is dedicated to supporting the work needs of former female gang members by offering them hands-on training in a safe work environment. Women and girls considered at-risk in Los Angeles County are in desperate need of basic tools in order to improve their lives financially and emotionally. 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 Cafe is thrilled with the launch of Homeboy Chips and Salsa in Ralphs stores all across Southern California, and the release of these products in January 2011 showed a great support for Homegirl Cafe and Homeboy Industries; our products were the highest selling in the deli department at Ralphs for the month!
Homegirl Cafe inaugurated a new job training program and partnership with Glendale Community College on September 1, 2010. Initially, 14 Cafe trainees will progress through a year-long rotation at all Cafe training stations, participate in Los Angeles restaurant internships at Border Grill, BLD with Chef Diana Stavaridis and -- new -- The Black Cat with Nick Coe and Niles Park. We are proud to announce that in February, our first Homegirl intern was hired permanently by the Black Cat Cafe! In addition, Cafe junior staff, about 20 young women and men, serve as the lead staff partnering with the trainees. The goal is to engage and empower each one with the training, the education and the experience necessary to build a successful career in the food service industry.
Trainees will rotate through these sections at Homegirl Cafe, 7 weeks per unit:
- Garden, two organic gardens on site at Homeboy and two off-site organic gardens
- Back kitchen, including prep kitchen and catering
- Front kitchen
- Retail including the counter service for bakery and coffee service and cash register, and bussing
- Server including host and runner
- Restaurant internship, an externship at Border Grill, Nick Coe, and The Black Cat
In addition, all trainees and junior staff are required to attend the weekly four-hour class taught by Glendale Community College faculty from the Culinary, Nutrition and Hospitality Management Program of the Restaurant Management Department. Classes taught on-site at Homegirl Cafe are drawn from this curriculum. The objective is to encourage attainment of an A.A. degree, serving as role models to open the doors of possibility offered through further education. In addition to the training, each of the young men and women at the Cafe also work with Case Managers to obtain a driver's license, clear warrants maintain required appointments with parole and probation, and search for housing as necessary. All this is considered part of their workday, as well as the hands-on training in all aspects of running the Cafe from food preparation, washing dishes, waiting or busing tables, managing inventory, opening and closing to finances.
In the long term, training these youth, primary young women, to manage money, giving them concrete skills and the tools to make a positive change in their lives will enable them to move on into permanent, outside employment, and improve their leadership abilities and overall well-being. By learning to manage their own lives while simultaneously putting practical skills to use on a daily basis through assisting with the financial, interpersonal, and management operations of the cafe, it is our hope that these young women and men will be empowered to become truly independent. Further, the steady, honest work will help them create and maintain stable homes, improving the lives of their children, their families, and their community.
Father Boyle & Homegirl Cafe Staff