A nonprofit coffee shop helps Oregon teens gain marketable skills

In Sheridan, Oregon, Bridge Street Coffee is providing entry level opportunities jobs in a community that is desperate for work. Bridge Street Coffee was bought two years ago by LINCS, a non-profit that supports youth activities and sports. LINCS aims to teach marketable job skills.

In a town of 6,000 people, jobs can be hard to come by, especially for those with little to no previous job experience. While the coffee shop cannot afford to hire every teen who applies, they offer volunteer opportunities that can be used towards school credit.

Teenage barista, Ronni Vanzant, explains how this job has allowed her to come out of her shell: “It completely changed at how I look at the world. I had social anxiety really bad to where I couldn’t be in a group of people.  Now, every morning I know who is coming in, it’s a good conversation.  This job has changed how I see myself.”

Currently, the store has four paid staff positions and 35 volunteers.