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Alameda County: A "Fresh Start" For At-Risk Youth

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Uploaded on Apr 18, 2011

Given the increased number of older foster youth deemed at-risk once they reach adulthood, preparing the most vulnerable youth to successfully transition to productive adulthood became a key challenge for the County General Services Agency. Utilizing a public-private partnership and $600,000 from Aramark Corp., the County created the Fresh Start Cafe, staffed with youth who work for $8 an hour, earn food handling certification and course credit toward high school graduation. The program became so successful that a second cafe opened in 2009 and expanded to include its own line of products such as coffee, water bottles and gift bags, coffee mugs. As a result, 44 minors have participated in the program since 2007. Benefits have been many: students have gained employment and public speaking experience, money earned goes toward restitution payments, and some youth have been offered additional job interview opportunities with Aramark upon completion of the cafe training program.

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