Fresh Faces at Fresh Grounds Café

Imagine commuting to work on a 32” Nimbus unicycle. Gabriel, 16, rides to his shifts at Fresh Grounds Café, causing coworkers and customers to smile in wonder.

Gabriel heard about the Fresh Grounds Café training program when he was 14 and attending the nearby Nova Academy. The Fresh Grounds trainee recruiter visited his school to give a presentation about the benefits of training. Gabriel had to wait until he turned 15 to enroll; and after training had to wait again until 16 to be hired. But according to Gabriel, it was worth the wait. “Fresh Grounds helped me with socializing, memorizing recipes, and multi-tasking,” he comments. Working about 20 hours weekly over the summer, Gabriel spends his spare time at Circus Juventus, where he has been training for the past eight years. One of Gabriel’s goals is to attend the École Nationale in Montreal, one of few circus performance colleges. “I’ve been working on my GPA and preparations,” Gabriel says. “Fresh Grounds Café has definitely helped me with my confidence.”

Fresh Grounds Café is both a business and a training program for youth and young adults who experience challenges to employment. The training is multi-phased, offering a short-term training and a lengthier paid internship with the goal to link youth to market employment and education plans. In 2017, Fresh Grounds Café trained and/or hired 40 opportunity youth from the Saint Paul community. Learn more about the Fresh Grounds Café at freshgroundscafe.com.