Baking Bright Futures Breakfast: Celebrating 30 Years of Cookie Cart

Celebrating 30 years of Cookie Cart and the legacy of our founder, Sister Jean.

This free, community event is in honor of the vision of Sister Jean, and the impact her legacy has had on the Twin Cities in the last 30 years. Please join us at Sanctuary Covenant Church to kick off our 30th Anniversary celebration!

When:

Thursday, April 5 | 7:30-8:30 a.m.

Where:

Sanctuary Covenant Church
710 W Broadway Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55411

Schedule:

7:00-7:30 a.m. | Registration & Networking

7:30-8:30 a.m. | Light Breakfast & Program

Join us:

Space is limited and registration is required. There is no cost to attend, but there will be an opportunity to make a contribution. Please RSVP by March 30 below or by contacting Taylor Lubich at email hidden; JavaScript is required or (612) 843-1949. If you’re unable to attend but would still like to support Sister Jean’s mission, you can do so here. Thank you for your support, and we’ll see you there!

Special thanks to our event sponsors and partners!

Interested in sponsorship opportunities? Click here to learn more, or contact Katie at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

 

Get to know Dynasty and Ka’Jahna: The Rising Stars of February!

Congratulations Dynasty and Ka’Jahna!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff works together to determine which young people are striving to be their best. They look for a positive attitude, mindfulness of adult staff and youth peers, strong attendance to scheduled shifts, and demonstration of initiative and willingness to help others.

What makes Dynasty and Ka’Jahna stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below and stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Dynasty

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since the beginning of October. My mom brought me here to get an application because some of her students worked here and she knew it would be a good opportunity for me.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I get to learn new skills like how to work with people because I’m not always good with people. We also get to experience different things like the classes on Financial Literacy and Leadership. I like the Financial Literacy classes because I didn’t know much about money before I started.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I’m a fast learner and a helpful person. I’ll step in and help my coworkers when they need it.

What is the secret to your success?
I’m always ready to work, and I’m motivated by the paycheck because I’m saving to pay for Driver’s Ed and part of a car.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
During peak season there were a lot of us working and we did a scooping competition. The losing team had to scoop more dough while the winners started cleaning. The other team cheated and acted like they won, but in the end we just split up and the girls went to clean while the boys scooped. Cookie Cart After Dark was what Ms. Schleeter called it.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
No one believes me, but it’s gingersnap!

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Always work hard and come with a positive attitude. Stay on task while still having fun, and do what’s asked of you.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to college at an HBCU or Howard in DC. I visited Howard in November and I really liked the campus. I’m thinking I want to be a doctor or a lawyer.

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Work can be fun. Confidence when meeting and working with new people. What it takes to be a leader.

Ka’Jahna

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since June. I wanted to work here because I applied through STEP-UP and wanted an indoor job. I heard this job helped teens a lot and you got to take classes.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like packing orders because I’m a numbers person, and scooping because it’s simple and you get to talk to your friends.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I like helping people and I see myself helping a lot of people when I’m here. I try to be a leader in the bakery and I do what I need to do when I need to do it and not try to get leeway.

What is the secret to your success?
A positive mindset – even in a bad situation I just look for the good in it. Like if we have to scoop 2 bins of dough I think “At least it will be done for next time.” It’s an instinct for me, how I’ve changed it’s made it easier to think positive more than negative. I’m motivated by my goals and future.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
Every time is memorable in the bakery because everybody laughs and it’s such a positive atmosphere. Everyone smiles and is cracking jokes. Even when it’s a serious moment we make a joke about it.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Gingersnap

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Do the best you can everytime you step into the bakery. Do what you’re supposed to do and don’t take the easy way, do it the more efficient way.

What does your bright future look like?
I’m saving to get a car and my driver’s license. I want to keep up my good grades and then go to Medical School in Atlanta after high school to become either a cardiac or general surgeon.

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Speak out when you see something wrong, It’s okay to have fun at your job, and Financing and how to spend and save.

Congratulations on being selected as Rising Stars for the month of February. The leadership team would like to thank you for all your hard work!

30 Years in 30 Words

This year marks Cookie Cart’s 30th Anniversary and to celebrate we want to share your 30-word stories of Cookie Cart in the last 30 years. From the early days in Sister Jean’s kitchen to the first bakery on Emerson to the West Broadway bakery to Saint Paul, we want to hear what Cookie Cart has meant to you, or how you’ve been impacted by Cookie Cart, in just 30 words. Stories will be shared weekly on Cookie Cart’s social media and on this blog post. Submit stories using the form below, or by email hidden; JavaScript is required. If you have a photo of yourself that goes along with your 30-word story that we can share, please send to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Get to know Kiwana and Abdi: The Rising Stars of January!

Congratulations Kiwana and Abdi!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff works together to determine which young people are striving to be their best. They look for a positive attitude, mindfulness of adult staff and youth peers, strong attendance to scheduled shifts, and demonstration of initiative and willingness to help others.

What makes Kiwana and Abdi stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below and stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Kiwana

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
6 months. I volunteered here once with my dad before I got hired. I wanted to work here because it was with people my age. I was hired through STEP-UP this summer and then asked to stay when STEP-UP ended.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
My favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart is that we get to experience new things and ideas, like on the workplace visits. We go to places I’ve never heard of or seen and they teach us a lot about the future. I also like the classes because I learn things that I wouldn’t know without them. Like the financial literacy classes.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I think I was chosen because of the work I’ve done in the bakery. I don’t mess around and I get the work done that’s assigned to me. I’ve taken on more complicated orders recently, and I make sure they’re done right.

What is the secret to your success?
Being happy. I’m never mad or sad, and if I am I don’t show it, because having a good attitude is important and it’s hard to do work and stay on task without it. Other people latch on to how you feel, so you have to be positive or it brings everyone down.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
The 3M Workplace Visit because we did hands on things like decorate a car and learn what 3M does. I never paid attention to tape or anything like that but over break we were wrapping presents and I noticed the tape was from 3M.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
M&M

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Be successful. Do what you have to do and help others out. Stay on task and keep others on task too. If the managers are offering hours – take them!

What does your bright future look like?
I want to be a social worker because I like talking to people and helping them. I started researching what social workers do and it seems like something I would like to do. I’m also in dance at school and a studio, so I want to do something with dance in my future.

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Leadership is important. Communication because closed mouths don’t get fed. And Teamwork.

Abdi

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
3 months. I started in October. I wanted to get more experience because other jobs told me I needed it.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like scooping, dishes, and working with volunteer groups because they see I’m a good worker and tell me I’m doing a good job. I like teaching them how to scoop and other skills.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I like to work hard. Scooping is a hard job and I always do it because I don’t like doing simple work.

What is the secret to your success?
I’m reliable – I do what the managers ask and I do it quickly. I’m motivated by wanting to improve my experience for a next job.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
The first time I packed an order I spent 20 minutes trying to get the belly band on. A Cart Captain came to help me and taught me how to do it.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Ask your managers for help before you do something you don’t know how to do. Be reliable and serious about your job. Do you work like you own the business and aren’t just an employee.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to college for business management. Maybe to St. Cloud. I want to have a big family too.

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Always work hard, Leadership, and hard work pays off because your managers will be proud and will appreciate your hard work.

Congratulations on being selected as Rising Stars for the month of January. The leadership team would like to thank you for all your hard work!

Meet Saeed

Saeed’s move to Minnesota in November 2016 was his third across two continents and more than 12,000 miles. His family was in search of a place to call home. Displaced from Somalia because of civil unrest and famine, they first moved to South Africa, then to Texas and finally Minnesota.

New to North Minneapolis and not knowing many people, he wanted something to do after school. “I came from places that didn’t have job opportunities, so I thought it would be impossible to get a job.” But when Saeed heard about Cookie Cart from his classmate, he knew it was where he wanted to be.

Connecting is critical to success! Connecting to peers, caring adults, your community and new communities. Connecting only happens from a strong foundation. Young people at Cookie Cart are working to build strong foundations with skills and assets so they can connect and succeed.

Your gift makes sure that teens like Saeed have a safe, nurturing place to go to connect and build community!

“I never even thought about being a Cart Captain, but the managers saw me as a leader and that’s when I started realizing that I needed to start speaking more with my coworkers.” Cookie Cart staff could see that Saeed had potential to be a strong leader. They knew with the right training, he could become a role model for the teens in the bakery. In March, they enrolled him in leadership training courses where he found his personal leadership style.

The hard work paid off – Saeed was promoted to Cart Captain in March 2017. At first, leading was a challenge. It was hard to direct his friends and peers on work projects, but he soon found his voice and is now a true leader.

Knowing that young people are succeeding at Cookie Cart in Minneapolis, we are working with Saint Paul’s East Side neighborhood to convert a vacant building into a vibrant youth-centered space for teens.

All this happens because of community members like you who have committed to giving bright teens with high potential living in the Twin Cities’ lowest-income neighborhoods the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

Your donation supports hundreds of teens like Saeed as they connect to new communities. Now more than ever, we need to create positive and sustainable communities. With your support, we will hire 200 teenagers like Saeed and provide them with their first paid job experience, that will set them up for success in career and education, by giving them the critical leadership, interpersonal, and work skills they need.

Please consider making a tax-deductible gift before December 31. We are deeply grateful for your support.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season,
The Cookie Cart Staff, Youth Employees, and Board of Directors.

Get to know Aria and Zuri: The Rising Stars of December!

Congratulations Aria and Zuri!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff works together to determine which young people are striving to be their best. They look for a positive attitude, mindfulness of adult staff and youth peers, strong attendance to scheduled shifts, and demonstration of initiative and willingness to help others.

What makes Aria and Zuri stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below and stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Aria

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since June. I applied because my mom knew about Cookie Cart from her friend who volunteered here.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like meeting all the new people who work here. And I like decorating cookies, which was hard at the beginning but now it’s fun.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I do the task I’m asked to do and I finish them. I work well with other people and I ask volunteers to work with me when they’re here because I like talking to them and hearing about their experience. They are good at giving advice and perspective.

What is the secret to your success?
Knowing what to do, because you learn a lot when you first start and I can remember everything they taught me. I’m motivated by wanting to do my best.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
The first CART Circle we did when I was hired, because I got to see all the things we were going to do and it was more than I expected.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate chip

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Work your hardest and do your best. If something is challenging, just keep working at it and never give up.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to college for Culinary Arts and open my own bakery.

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Working on a team, customer service, and learning to work with managers

Zuri

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
5 months. I wanted to work here because both my mom and dad worked with Sr. Jean and my sister worked here in 2010. They were so happy when I got hired.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I just love it. It’s a day freshener. I learn something here every day and being a part of the team and having a support system is what matters. I like doing customer service because I get to interact with people and tell them what Cookie Cart is about. I love seeing their reactions when they find out we only hired teens.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I get the work done. When I have a task, I just do it or come back to it. I help a lot of people too even though I’m not a Cart Captain yet. If someone is doing something wrong I step up and show them.

What is the secret to your success?
I’m a fixer – if something isn’t right I change it. I’m always helping people even if I’m not good at what they’re working on. I take all the challenges that come my way and go find out how to do instead of just passing them on, because you never know when it will come up again.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
I came into work one day and wasn’t feeling my best and was down, but everyone noticed and was there for me. Cookie Cart is the best support system and you can never have a bad day when you’re here, even if it starts bad it’ll get better when you get here.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
M&M

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Keep pushing forward, try to fix your mistakes and put your mind to it.

What does your bright future look like?
After I finish high school I want to go to a community college, then get my bachelor’s and then probably a Master’s and PhD. I want to be a teacher or maybe a psychologist because I like helping and fixing things. I want to move out of Minnesota to somewhere different. i just want to be successful and be able to say I made it because I came from a struggle and I want to make it further than people think I would have.

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Teamwork, Communication, Budgeting.

Congratulations on being selected as Rising Stars for the month of December. The leadership team would like to thank you for all your hard work!

Get to know Tazia and Ahmed: The Rising Stars of November!

Congratulations Tazia and Ahmed!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff works together to determine which young people are striving to be their best. They look for a positive attitude, mindfulness of adult staff and youth peers, strong attendance to scheduled shifts, and demonstration of initiative and willingness to help others.

What makes Tazia and Ahmed stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below and stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Tazia

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
5 months.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
Customer service because I get to see new faces and I get to make people happy. It was a little complicated at first, but when I started doing it more I got it.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I show leadership, I’m a very happy person, I get a lot of people in the mood – like I make people feel good about themselves.

What is the secret to your success?
I’m determined, I want to get my job done and I stay on task all the time and don’t come to play. I’m motivated by seeing people doing good, if I see my teammates doing good, it makes me want to be good so together we can be great.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
I got a tray of sugar for the double chocolate chip cookies and I got too close to Moses and it just dropped and got all over my shoes, and everyone was just looking at me.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate chip and double chocolate chip

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Show leadership, don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind, be yourself don’t try to fit it and it’s okay to be yourself.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to MN School of Cosmetology and business school so I can own my own beauty bar. Or I might want to be a lawyer because I’m good at arguing.

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Communication, Customer Service, and Be yourself – don’t try to fit in.

Ahmed

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since March. I wanted to work at Cookie Cart because I knew they hired only teens and it’s my first job so I wanted to learn a lot.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like sales events. I’ve only been on one, but I like helping to sell cookies and saying hello to people. I also like scooping because it’s the easiest job. At first, it was hard, but the more I did it, the better I got.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I don’t talk much, but I show people how to do the job. If they see me scooping fast, they’ll follow me and go fast as well. I like competition so I get everyone to work hard together.

What is the secret to your success?
Working hard, being on time, and getting the job done on time. I’m motivated by knowing that I’ll get more experience by working here.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
The first time I did dishes, I stacked too many trays on the drying shelf and they all fell on the ground.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Coconut Toffee. And Pumpkin Spice

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Work hard and get the job done on time. Don’t fuss too much about the job, and make it fun.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to college and study business

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Time management, communication, and meeting new people.

Congratulations on being selected as Rising Stars for the month of November. The leadership team would like to thank you for all your hard work!

Get to know Rashi and Mariana: The Rising Stars of October!

Congratulations Rashi and Mariana!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff works together to determine which young people are striving to be their best. They look for a positive attitude, mindfulness of adult staff and youth peers, strong attendance to scheduled shifts, and demonstration of initiative and willingness to help others.

What makes Rashi and Mariana stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below and stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Rashi

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since April. I decided to apply to work at Cookie Cart because I knew it was a good first job experience and that I would be able to work with people my age.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like that I get to meet new people and talk to them. I’ve met so many people who live in my neighborhood by working here. I like that my coworkers can be themselves here and that we get to have fun while we work hard. I like that we get to do sales events and workplace visits because we get to learn and get paid, which is a nice opportunity to have. I guess I just like that I get more opportunities that will prepare us for the next job.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I worked hard this summer. I was always calling in on my days off to see if I could work, or asked if I could stay longer. I started here wanting to learn everything I could, so I asked a lot of questions so I would know what to do.

What is the secret to your success?
Keep yourself positive and motivated. Even if I’m not in the best mood, I keep going because I know hard work pays off. I stepped up to be a leader even though I’m not a Cart Captain yet.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
Honestly, the Dairy Queen workplace visit because I learned a lot about marketing and I got 2nd place in the blizzard competition. And also my first sales event because I really learned how to talk to people that day. I spent all the downtime reading the brochure so I knew what to say to people when they asked what Cookie Cart was.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate chip

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
You want to stand out in a good way. Be a good work and respectful to your coworkers. If you have some bad qualities when you start, just be willing to show you can change those into positive things.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to get a 4-year degree and be a fashion designer and have my own business that’s like Cookie Cart, but with designing clothes instead of cookies. I want to go to St. Thomas, St. Kate’s, or St. Cloud State University

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Leadership, Communication, Time management

Mariana 

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since November. I wanted to work at Cookie Cart because lots of my family worked here.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
The environment and the vibe, and the fact that there’s no bad energy here. I like doing customer service and folding boxes too.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I have shown my potential and grown into it. I’m not a Cart Captain yet, but I’ve stepped out of my box since I started and I actually help people instead of watching them fail. I’m not afraid to correct my coworkers, even Cart Captains.

What is the secret to your success?
Have fun. Don’t let anyone stop you from what you’re supposed to be doing. Not having an attitude

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
Last year when I first started we were in the community room building shipping boxes and that was fun. We built so many it filled the windows.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate Chip

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Just be yourself and be positive. Come to work ready.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to FAMU or UCLA and become a surgeon.

What are the top three skills you’ve learned at Cookie Cart, or have worked on the most?
Leadership skills, critical thinking, and good customer service.

Congratulations on being selected as Rising Stars for the month of October. The leadership team would like to thank you for all your hard work!

Meet the Chefs: Kristy Dirk

Cookie Cart’s 9th Annual Chefs’ Dinner is on October 29 at Town & Country Club in Saint Paul. The dinner is prepared by a team of local celebrity chefs, led by award-winning chef, culinary educator, and restaurant consultant Pat Weber, along with student chefs from the International Culinary School at the Art Institutes International of Minnesota. We are honored to have another phenomenal lineup chefs for this year’s event, including Kristy Dirk of Lucky Oven Bakery.

Kristy Dirk is the chef and owner of Lucky Oven Bakery. After graduating from the Art Institutes International Baking and Pastry program, she went to work for Michelle Gayer’s  Salty Tart. She has also done pastry work for Mise en Place and worked as a pastry chef at Mosaic Café and Red Wagon Pizza.

Visit the Chefs’ Dinner main page »

Meet the Chefs: Robert Dunn

Cookie Cart’s 9th Annual Chefs’ Dinner is on October 29 at Town & Country Club in Saint Paul. The dinner is prepared by a team of local celebrity chefs, led by award-winning chef, culinary educator, and restaurant consultant Pat Weber, along with student chefs from the International Culinary School at the Art Institutes International of Minnesota. We are honored to have another phenomenal lineup chefs for this year’s event, including Robert Dunn of Club Medtronic inside US Bank Stadium.

Chef Robert, a native of Chicago, is a 2014 graduate of The Art Institute of Minnesota. His passion for cooking started at a young age and has only continued to flourish through the years. Robert is currently chef at Club Medtronic in Minneapolis at US Bank Stadium., where he is not only dedicated to his team and customers, but also to put his heart into every dish he creates. To Robert, cooking is more than just a job, it’s what fills his life with purpose and meaning. In his free time, Robert enjoys using his skill set and love for food to give back to his community through a variety of events and programs, including Cooking Matters, the No Kid Hungry Initiative, with the University of Minnesota. Robert hopes to one day open his own restaurant in Minneapolis where he can continue to share his passion with his community and bring happiness into the lives of others.

Visit the Chefs’ Dinner main page »