Marginalized News Commentary for Changemakers

Java Hope won first place in the Pure Michigan Social Entreprenurship Challenge on June 18th. The challenge was to speak to an audience without a prompt for five minutes. I did not get ‘brain freeze’ and completed my memorized speech flawlessly!

The real challenge for me was memorizing my speech without a prompt. After I completely memorized my investor pitch, my coach changed the orientation of the speech the day before the event. I had to memorize the new speech format shortly before the event. This was the real challenge! Fortunately I succeeded thanks to my cell phone. I used my phone to record my speech. I played the recording endlessly while sleeping and during my drive up to Lansing. It really worked! No brain freeze!

I will participate in the fall event and once again use my cell phone to help my ‘challenged’ memory. No more sweaty palms!

Java Hope empowers marginalized women to own and operate a coffee cart business. Please visit http://www.javahope.org for more information.

UPDATE: I was selected as one of the  first Michigan Corps Social Enterprise Fellows! Very honored to participate in this program.

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Java Hope Class

Java Hope Class

I have enjoyed teaching this class. The ladies are very astute in crafting their market strategies. They are very aware how retailers entice customers to purchase their products. They carefully study the advertiser’s media content in magazines, on television and on the Internet. They understand how advertisers use marketing tactics to buyers to purchase their products.

We recently visited a local library to learn how to conduct research on the coffee industry. Unfortunately, the public library lack the scholarly resources needed to complete their marketing plan. The students were frustrated because they could not find suitable content for their proposal.

I contacted the library at Ross Business School (University of Michigan). I explained I wanted to bring a class to conduct business research for a few hours. They schedule the appointment.

However much to my delight, the ladies texted me from Washtenaw Community College and said they were at the library and the Librarian was helping them find everything they needed! That was at 9AM. I am very proud of them to take the initiative, create teams and work on their project without my assistance. Of course, I must grade their project. But being pro-active for this sector is a huge step toward self-sufficiency.

When I arrived at 11:00 AM, they exuded confidence and credited the Librarian (setting nearby) with helping them find everything needed to write a winning marketing plan. I commended them. I was so elated that I was close to tears!

Today I am proud to announce that my class is in its 4th month. They will graduate in September and begin working at various coffee cart locations. They are very excited and motivated.

       When I started the Java Hope Project, my critics told me I would never get pass the first week. They said this sector was uncommitted and disinterested in making a life in the business arena.
Serving Hope In Every Cup!

I cannot articulate my feelings in helping these women become economically empowered. Just watching Mother and daughter (we have two teams) work side by side is impressive. I am so inspired by the ladies tenacity. I don’t see this as work, but my life’s mission.

Java Hope Class

The women are learning financial literacy.

We are excited to announce Java Hope Live on Blogtalk radio. The program will host quality content and conduct interviews to keep you up-to-date and informed of our program activities and events. Our goal is to reach a broader audience interested in empowering women to make a significant career change in their lives.

JAVA HOPE ‘LIVE’ Blogtalk radio enables our followers to ask ‘real-time’ questions and receive immediate feedback. Call in members can also meet our Java Hope ladies and gain a better understanding of how the program is impacting their lives.

We work to eradicate poverty and building community through business ownership. The students are excited as they dream of building a better future for themselves and their families. We help them navigate the complexity of rebuilding their lives by helping them own and operate a coffee cart business.

So stay look for our program schedule.

Java Hope launched entrepreneurial classes in April at Hope Clinic in Ypsilanti, Michigan. It was difficult selecting suitable candidates for the program. Everyone interviewed had challenging set of circumstances. However after we made the final cut, we finally selected a great group of women who are willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to become a business owner. They also accepted our classroom and attendance policies and procedures. To date, attendance of our students is excellent!

High school graduates may participate in the program with pay received from Michigan Works youth initiative. Age requirements are 18-21 years old. 

Another Michigan Works program for Java Hope is teaching in the following areas: Detroit, Highland Park, Pontiac, Flint and Saginaw. It is exciting to see Java Hope helping to grow the Michigan economy.

Our curriculum concise of basic business courses such as Business and Market Planning, Financial literacy and soft skill development.  The learning atmosphere is very relaxed and women are encouraged to share their personal insight on a particular topic. They work in teams to complete  each group assignments. This gives students an extra layer of support, and it builds their confidence. 

Our program empowers women to own and operate a coffee cart business. Students who prefer employment over entrepreneurship will be offered hospitality employment after graduation.

 Java Hope is a two year program: 6 months of classroom training and 18 months paid apprenticeship training at a coffee cart location.

Upon successful completion of the 2 year program, our students receive a micro-loan to purchase a coffee cart and start their own business. They also receive for free additional coaching and mentorship for an additional year after graduation.

www.javahope.org

Java Hope uses the revoluntionary Kaufmann Foundation’s ‘Who Owns the Icehouse;’ a journey travelled by Clifton Taulbert. Mr. Taulbert went from picking cotton in the south to unprecedented prosperity. In his book ‘Who Owns the Icehouse,’ he identifies eight life lessons he learned that completely revolutionized his life.

Java Hope completely agrees with this concept that people don’t want to be poor. Unfortunately, no one has convinced and empowered them to seek more from life. Instead, the system has convinced them that entitlements are a ‘good deal!; They don’t have to work, just sit down and collect a government monies.

Times are ‘a changing!’ The ‘welfare system’ as we know it is slowly reducing and eliminating programs that sustained people for years. Unfortunately, this sector lacks upward mobility job skills and the impact of new legislation is frightening….especially for women with children.

In Michigan, the Governor cut 15,000 families from welfare ‘suddenly!’ While 700 were reinstated, the other 14,300 economic condition is unknown. Of course the majority of the poor reside in urban areas. Understandably, the Governor had a fidicuary duty to balance the budget, but what about balancing the live’s of people who formerly were rewarded to stay poor?

I am extremely grateful that organizations like Java Hope exist to help people achieve meaningful careers and transform their communities. Our program clients are taught how to break employment barriers and become successful entrepreneurs. After all, everyone wants a career earning good money. They just need help understanding prosperity is for everyone….even if training is required.

It is a delight to start another new Java Hope program. We are now recruiting new applicants at Hope Clinic in Ypsilanti, MI. Eventually we will purchase our own building. However right now we realize that our clients are unable to travel to us because they lack transportation. So, we are going to them! 

I am very excited to help them escape poverty and embark into a new exciting and meaningful career. They will learn how to own and operate a coffee cart business. This is a micro-business with low overhead. The women will work in teams to cover shift changes. 

The entreprenurial program teaches all phases of owning a coffee business. It also teaches management skills in the hospitality industry. If they prefer to work for someone, we help them get good jobs earning sustainable wages. 

Some of the new clients are amazing. They understand the impact of Michigan’s new 5 year term  for welfare. They are very motivated to leave welfare forever! I cannot wait for them to experience the change and become self-sufficient.

Finally, I interviewed a young lady and explained the program to her. She was ‘sold!’ At the end of the meeting she grabbed my hand and said “You have given me Hope!’ My eyes filled with tears and I thought….yes, that’s what this program is really about – HOPE!.

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