Old Skool Cafe - Educating Youth

It's rare for me to go into San Francisco for a weekday event, but when I got an invitation, I decided to schedule work at our Bay Area location for that day so I could stay late to go to dinner at Old Skool Cafe.
Old Skool Cafe is a faith-based, violence prevention program, providing marketable employment skills in the restaurant industry to at-risk youth ages 16-22. Old Skool Cafe provides the opportunity to transform the loop of incarceration and recidivism into healthy life loops. Youth come from jail, foster care or situations of abuse and neglect into a supportive environment. 
The invitation had piqued my interest because the program reminded me so much of Saint John's Program for Change, which I had written about in 2015. Both programs help those struggling and in need of assistance with support and education. Both use restaurant programs to teach skills that will lead the participants to jobs in the industry. 

Old Skool is a much younger program in terms of age and, of course, its participants. Back in about 2004, Founder Teresa Goines came up with the idea. The first few years she was operating the program from her own home and with help from caterers and people who were able to give them spaces to do occasional popup dinners. As word spread, she was blessed when a church gave them an old building to use with minimal rent. In 2012 Old Skool Cafe opened in the Bayview Hunter’s Point neighborhood. In 2014 they purchased the building and over the last six months they've been closed for renovation. 

I was invited to a soft opening as they prepare to reopen in the next few weeks. We were treated to a menu of International Soul Food that included gumbo, ribs, a Tongan ceviche style dish, and a West African peanut butter stew. Everything was executed very well, from service to the tasty dishes. Please watch my short video with interviews with the founder and one of the participants.

Old Skool Cafe
1429 Mendell St
San Francisco