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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Doughnuts With a Cause: Mobile Cafe Launching Workforce Development Program for Oakland Girls

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 3:46 PM

click to enlarge Donuts and coffee pop-up, Mamacitas Cafe is raising funds on Kickstarter to launch a workforce development program for young women in Oakland. - FERRON SALNIKER
  • Ferron Salniker
  • Donuts and coffee pop-up, Mamacitas Cafe is raising funds on Kickstarter to launch a workforce development program for young women in Oakland.

Like doughnuts? Coffee? Supporting meaningful economic opportunities for young women in Oakland? If you said yes to all three (we might question your taste if you didn’t), Mamacitas Cafe is expanding their pop-up cafe which hires and provides leadership training for female-identified youth in Oakland, and they could use your support on Kickstarter

Founders Shana Lancaster and Renee Geesler started Mamacitas Cafe earlier this year, popping up at small scale events with hot doughnut kebabs (a genius snack of three small donuts on a stick), locally roasted Red Bay Coffee, and herbal-infused sparkling sodas. The two said the idea was inspired by both the exciting growth in Oakland and the city’s struggles, citing the rising child poverty rate and the city’s sexual exploitation crisis affecting young women. 

“We are fierce advocates of Oakland," says Lancaster, who's a third-generation Oakland native. "What we want is to prepare young women to take leadership positions within the city’s evolving economic landscape, be it through higher education or pursuing their own entrepreneurial ideas.” Both founders have years of experience in the non-profit and arts sector: Geesler with media and racial justice organizations, and Lancaster in youth development and, like many visual artists, more than 14 years of side hustling in the service industry.

Currently, the initiative has five female youth employees that work as support staff for events in and around Oakland. Funds raised from the Kickstarter would allow them to upgrade equipment and give the business capacity to do larger events, thus hiring more staff. And it’s all building towards the long term goal of securing a storefront and home for their training program.

So far, they're about halfway to their goal of raising $15,000 by October 13. Backers can look forward to t-shirts, prints by Lancaster, and of course, donut and coffee vouchers.

More information on the website. 

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Ferron Salniker

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