GRANT #357:

Breaktime Cafe

07/29/2019
Homeless Young Adults Need A Break In Life. Two College Students Declare “It’s Breaktime.”

It started when Tony Shu and Connor Schoen were volunteering at a homeless shelter. They were shocked to discover how tough it is for people to get a job if they don’t have an address, a place to live that isn’t a homeless shelter.

They figured the best way to help would be training homeless people and giving them real world jobs so they could demonstrate employability, at which point others would hire them, and then they could afford housing. Ta da! (It works.)

Their idea is Breaktime, a nonprofit offering hands-on work experience and real wages, along with job training and mentorship, to young people before they become chronically homeless.

It’s not just the job, although having a job is awesome! It’s the network of support. You know “it takes a village” to help people become independent and create stable situations for themselves. So Breaktime fosters relationships, networks, and communities that help the young people develop an overall improved quality of life.

If you click on their Facebook page you’ll see a picture of yummy donuts. (Mmm, donuts.) Right now, Breaktime is in the catering and sales business, which has already successfully hired (at $15/hr), trained, and employed five young adults. Breaktime helped them transition to employment elsewhere, enabling them to get into a place of their own.

The next big thing for Breaktime? A café that would create over 50 jobs for young adults experiencing homelessness. It would also be a great physical space for a talent hub. Breaktime would host vocational trainings there, and it would be a place where people could show off for potential new employers. Anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant knows that you learn both practical job skills and priceless people skills that stay with you, no matter what career you ultimately pursue. And there’s a great chance a café can be self-sustaining, generating enough cash that it pays for itself after it’s up and running.

Check it out here.

And while you’re at it, look around where you live. There might be a social enterprise designed to help people become “formerly homeless,” and who knows? There might be donuts.