Phoenix coffee shop offers jobs, life skill training for kids aging out of foster care

Getting a head start in life isn't always easy, especially for teens transitioning from tough situations like foster care.

Cultivate Coffee, a Phoenix coffee shop, is helping them prepare for success by offering them more than a job - they're preparing these teenagers for adulthood.

Katelyn Escobar is only 15, but she's already a full-time employee. She started as an intern, as do all teens who work here.

"So cultivate means to draw out the potential for something to see that it flourishes, and we like to do that with our product people and place we work with," said Chris Priebe, head roaster and founder of Cultivate.

The café in Sunnyslope primarily works with youth that are aging out of foster care, as they face many obstacles during their transition.

"We give them job skills that are transferable into any career, like customer service, how to make eye contact, marketing," explained Priebe. "Then we also teach them life skills, so how to budget, how to look at food and nutrition and things like that.

"Also why it's important to get car insurance - just things our parents taught us that often we took for granted," Priebe continued.

The internships are paid. There are meetings every two weeks so teens can check in and stay focused, along with mock interviews with participating businesses.

It's preparation for the real world in a community setting.

"It is taking a chance, but it's the whole reason we started this," Priebe said. "We believe that if someone is willing to take a chance on them…they're going to do some great things and be better for the whole community in the long run."

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Katelyn says she appreciates the opportunity to work to learn.

"I've made a couple mistakes back there making drinks, spilling things…almost dropping drinks coming to serve people, but you know, everyone is very welcoming. They tell me it's not a big deal, they make me feel better about it."

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