Coffee is an important ingredient in many mornings. A Denver coffee shop is taking things a step further: Prodigy Coffee is also impacting the lives of young adults.
DENVER – For some people, a cup of coffee can mean the difference between a good morning and a not-so-good morning.
At Miracle coffee In Globeville, coffee can actually impact lives.
“I’m just getting out of my shyness, just getting out of my comfort zone,” said Autumn Banks, a Prodigy trainee.
Banks has been working at Prodigy in Globeville for about a year – almost as long as the store has existed.
The café offers so much more than just selling coffee. It’s a company that employs young people from northeast Denver, teaches them the skills they need to work in a coffee shop, and pumps money into the area’s economy.
“We returned $1.4 million in wages to the community,” said Jeslin Shahrezaei, managing director of Prodigy Ventures. “It’s not just a cafe, it’s not just development, it’s building community wealth.”
“We work with many young people who often earn their main income at home.”
Prodigy has two stores in northeast Denver: one in Globeville and the other on 40th Ave. and Colorado Boulevard. Since starting seven years ago, they have trained more than 120 apprentices in the 12- to 18-month program.
“We’re all just family and there’s no judgment at all,” Banks said. “You’re just going to challenge yourself, push yourself and know that you can do certain things.”
Shahrezaei said she knew that not all trainees would go on to work in cafes, but that was not the point here.
“We know what it means when a coffee shop comes to a neighborhood, and our work empowers young people to have their voices heard in their communities,” Shahrezaei said. “We know we are working with Denver’s next leaders.”
The cups of coffee Banks pours make a difference in the community – and in her life. She said it was the most fun she had ever had in a job, even though she had to learn from the ground up.
“It’s actually my favorite place to work,” Banks said.
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