Best Boost for Youth


As cruel and callous as it is, we've all heard some unthinking numskull mumble, "Get a job," as he passes a homeless person on the street. YouthCare, a Seattle nonprofit since 1974, wants homeless and at-risk young people to get jobs, too, but the difference is: YouthCare's doing something about it.

Much like FareStart's culinary training program for adults, YouthCare's Barista Training Program is focused and direct. Students learn by doing, and when they graduate, they possess a very specific and marketable skill set. The two programs actually work in tandem: FareStart's downtown Central Library coffee cart and its Rainier Valley cafe serve as YouthCare's classrooms—but only after trainees have studied up on the history of coffee, the art of the cash register, and the politics of dealing with persnickety latte lovers. During their eight-week course, students also learn about job readiness, interviewing skills, and apartment hunting. It could be argued that YouthCare grads are among the most educated baristas in town, and what's more, Employment Training Manager Liza Burell says graduates come with a "real commitment to change their lives."

It's now easier than ever to help them do so. Out of the Rain, a new CD featuring music by Seattle musicians such as Shawn Smith, Reggie Watts, the Walkabouts, and Kinski, benefits YouthCare's hands-on training efforts. For $7.99, the release is available at all Sonic Boom and Easy Street Records locations as well at all Caffe Ladros, all Caffe Vitas, all Uptown Espressos, Café Dharwin, Cloud City, and several other local cafes. Of course, if you happen to own or manage a coffee shop, Burell says the most important thing you can do is hire a YouthCare grad or provide a student with an internship.

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