Sister Jean Memorial Scholarship Awarded

With the first semester of his freshman year at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN under his belt, Andrew is happy to be home in Minneapolis. “It’s fun to come back and hang out with my family and old friends, but I have to say, I kind of miss my independence!” During his nine months as a Cookie Cart employee, Andrew was promoted to Cart Captain, a leadership role within the youth employees, and completed more than 288 hours of hands-on employment training and classroom learning.

shaun-and-andrew
Shaun Irwin presents the scholarship to former Cart Captain, Andrew.

Andrew’s hard work and dedication to his job at Cookie Cart earned him the Sister Jean Memorial Scholarship for 2016. The scholarship recognizes a current or former youth employee who exemplifies the ambition and commitment that Cookie Cart wishes to inspire in all of its youth employees, set by the vision of our founder, Sister Jean Thuerauf. The scholarship was established in 2014 in partnership with Shaun Irwin, a longtime friend and supporter of Cookie Cart. The Sister Jean Memorial Scholarship is meant to reward and encourage remarkable behavior from Cookie Cart youth employees as they exit the program and continue along their career path.

The selection committee chose Andrew because of his “can-do” attitude during his time at Cookie Cart. Stacy Schleeter, Senior Programs Manager, says, “Andrew took on every task and wasn’t afraid to ask questions. He took on the leadership role with no hesitation, bringing up everyone on his team because he recognized that doing great on your own is fine, but doing great as a team is better.”

At Concordia College, Andrew is double majoring in Biology and Education, with a minor in Chinese. He is a member of the Kantorei Choir, and enjoys being active on campus. Andrew credits his job at Cookie Cart for bringing out his innate leadership skills saying, “I learned a great deal of responsibility at Cookie Cart, and how to better understand and inspire those you work with.” He is humbled to have received the Sister Jean Memorial Scholarship, and plans to return to Cookie Cart to volunteer in the future.

Learn more about the program that will engage 200 teens in 30,000 hours of paid employment and training this year. Then, explore all of the ways you can get involved in creating possibilities for teens like Andrew.

Meet Ali

ali2Ali is 15 years old and is an outstanding salesperson. This fall at a local art festival he sold 400 bags of cookies in three hours by himself. He knows how to connect with a customer: he asks about their day, he thanks everyone and invites them to Cookie Cart, always saying, “If you come by, ask for me.”

Cookie Cart has given Ali a positive and safe place to put his charisma into action. This is a critical opportunity for Ali, and hundreds of teens like him, because without a positive first job experience, young people living in the Twin Cities’ lowest income neighborhoods face barriers in employment as adults. They are often pulled into a negative path that has dangerous and lasting consequences.

Ali decided to make different choices in his life. As a young black man in Chicago, it didn’t seem like Ali would have a chance to succeed. In December 2015, he was put on a bus to live with his aunt in Minneapolis, in hopes that he would have a better future. Ali explained, “In Chicago, teens don’t get opportunities to work; they only hire people who have a high school diploma. But Cookie Cart gave me a chance right away.”

In his year at Cookie Cart, Ali has been promoted to Cart Captain, passed all three sections of the National Career Readiness Certification, attended financial literacy workshops, participated in leadership training, taken part in ten community events and two workplace visits, and has shown tremendous growth through all  these experiences.

Without donors like you, Ali’s path might have been very different. “Back in Chicago, I wasn’t so good at positive leadership. Cookie Cart has taught me to be responsible and respectful. I’m more ambitious about my future because of this job.”

Your donation supports hundreds of teens like Ali as they become leaders. Now more than ever, we need to cultivate the next generation of leaders. With your support, we will hire 200 teenagers like Ali 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 gift of any amount before December 31 to help us reach our goal of engaging 200 Twin Cities teens in Cookie Cart’s proven youth employment and skill development program.

logodraft2_stampWishing you a safe and happy holiday season,
The Cookie Cart Staff, Youth Employees, and Board of Directors.

 

 

 

 

Introducing December’s Rising Stars!

Congratulations Pheng and Shamiyra!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff work 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 Pheng and Shamiyra stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below or stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Pheng pheng_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
3 months – I started in September

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
The people and managers because they are chill and fun to work with. I like doing the dishes and packing cookie orders the most.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I’ve been working hard since I started. Last week I spent 3 hours in the kitchen and I got everything done by myself.

What is the secret to your success?
I come on time and I work hard.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
Everything! It’s been fun working here from the start because everyone is welcoming and made me feel part of the team. I thought it would be challenging to work in the bakery, but it’s not because we’re a team.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Double Chocolate Chip!

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Work hard, be on time, show that you are a leader.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to college and get a mechanics degree and then fix cars. My brothers work on cars right now and I think it’s fun. I think skills that I’m learning at Cookie Cart, like being on time, communication, a good attitude, and hard work will help me in my future. And problem solving – that’ll help me too.

Shamiyrashamiyra_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since April, so 7 months.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like packing orders because it’s fun to organize the cookies. I also like helping new hires in the bakery because it’s hard to start somewhere new and it can be confusing. I got help when I first started and it made me feel welcomed, so I’m doing that now.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I’m working a lot harder than when I first started, and I put 10% more into everyday that I’m here so that I can get my tasks done. Last week I packed an order of 68 dozen all by myself.

What is the secret to your success?
Always work hard and keep a positive attitude. And always look at the bright side of a situation.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
The Chefs’ Dinner because it was a new experience for me and I got to meet a lot of new people. I was really nervous before the event, but the people were nice so I stepped out of my comfort zone.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate Chip

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Work hard, follow the rules, do what you’re told, and get tasks done even if it takes a long time.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to college at Clark Atlanta University and study something in the medical field so that I can be a Pediatrician and work with babies. Or maybe study social work and still focus on babies because I just like helping people.

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!

Introducing November’s Rising Stars!

Congratulations Precious and Davion!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff work 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 Precious and Davion stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below or stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Preciousprecious_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?

I started in April, so 7 months.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like working with people my own age and I like working in a bakery because I want to become a pastry chef when I’m older.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I’ve shown a lot of improvement lately. I’m an all star, team player. I’ve been doing a lot of customer service and my bosses ask me to stock the display case and other jobs because they know they can rely on me.

What is the secret to your success?
Show you can be reliable and do your job the best you can.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
A few weeks ago a customer emailed Shandella and said I was a good employee and representative of Cookie Cart after I talked with him for a long time. He was here with some other adult staff person, and just talked to me about my job, school, and my life. It was nice to get that positive praise.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Snickerdoodle.

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Show your boss you have what it takes to be a Rising Star.

What does your bright future look like?
After I graduate high school, I either want to take a gap year to work and start saving money, or go right to college while working. I want to be a pastry chef, so maybe I’ll go to Le Cordon Bleu, but I eventually want to open my own bakery.

Daviondavion_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
A year. I started last November, so this will be my second busy season.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like talking to my friends, meeting new people, and doing customer service.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I work hard and lately I’ve been helping a lot of the new hires. I show them what to do in the bakery and how to act and just talk to them. It helped me when I first started that the older employees made me smile and showed me basic stuff, so now I’m doing that.

What is the secret to your success?
Working hard, staying on task, helping others who need it, and having fun. Plus smiling.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
The Chefs’ Dinner because I got to talk to a lot of people who are doing something interesting with their lives, and they gave me advice on how to achieve my goals. One told me “The harder you work, the luckier you get”, which stuck with me.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
M&M. And pumpkin spice.

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Come in on time, help others, and smile.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to be a video game designer because I like playing them. I’m going to take a coding class at school next year, and then get a 4 year degree for game designing. I think that the social skills I’ve learned at Cookie Cart will help me.

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!

Meet the Chefs: Jenna Farni

citizen-supper-club-chef-jenniferCookie Cart’s 8th Annual Chefs’ Dinner is on October 30 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 line up chefs for this year’s event, including Jenna Farni of Citizen Supper Club.

During her time at the University of Minnesota, Jenna Farni worked in various positions within the culinary industry. Just before graduation, she switched paths and enrolled at the Arts Institute International Minnesota, graduating with a Culinary Management degree. Prior to joining Citizen Supper Club, she held management positions at The Oceanaire, Victory 44, Parka, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and CōV in Wayzata.

Outside of work, Jenna enjoys reading and exploring the latest in the Twin Cities culinary scene. We’re thrilled to have Jenna join us for another Chefs’ Dinner, after her first appearance at the 2013 event.

Visit the Chefs’ Dinner main page »

Meet the Chefs: Ben Weiss

ben-weiss_img_2501Cookie Cart’s 8th Annual Chefs’ Dinner is on October 30 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 line up chefs for this year’s event, including Ben Weiss of Butcher & the Boar.

Chef Ben Weiss’ appreciation for cuisine began at a young age, helping his mother prepare meals for the family whenever he could.  His enthusiasm for food carried into his professional career. Ben graduated from the Art Institutes International MN in 2008 and has been working his way up the culinary ladder ever since. Honing his skills under some of Minnesota’s best chefs, he continues to define his cuisine utilizing the skills and experience he has picked up along the way.

In 2013, he began working at Butcher & the Boar under Executive Chef Jack Riebel, and in 2015 he was promoted to the position of Sous Chef. At Butcher & the Boar, Chef Ben oversees nightly service on the line, as well as creating new and exciting dishes for the restaurant’s menu, and butchering meats every day for service.

Chef Ben believes that quality ingredients, good technique, and above all – attention to detail are essential in cooking. Keeping things fresh, seasonal, and simple is key. “Let your ingredients shine through and have a clear vision of what you are trying to create.”

Visit the Chefs’ Dinner main page »

Introducing October’s Rising Stars!

Congratulations Devone and Alexis!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff work 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 Devone and Alexis stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below or stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Devonedevone_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?

Since June, so 4 months.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like meeting everyone who works here, and having friends who work here. I knew a lot of people when I started, which helped me to not be shy and quiet. I like working with my hands, so building boxes is my favorite job to do.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I’m a hard worker – I get a task and I’m down to finish it. I also have been coming in on days when I’m not scheduled to help out, which I think people appreciate.

What is the secret to your success?
I do my work and I’m motivated to come to work. My biggest motivator is my friends who work here – we get the job done and have fun.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
We went to Valleyfair twice this summer. Once to learn about hydraulics and once just for fun.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Coconut Toffee

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Just be a hard worker and come to work.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to be an engineer. I’m not sure what kind, maybe technical. I’ve taken an intro class at school and right now I’m taking principles of engineering. It’s interesting to me.

Alexisalexis_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
A year in November.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
The fact that they let me blossom as a person, while essentially making me a better, more prepared worker.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
Because I have the whole package: I learn well, listen effectively, lead properly, and dedicate myself to my job.

What is the secret to your success?
Laughter. When I laugh it spreads to other people which all together makes the work place happy.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
My most memorable moment is when we had a sales event & Alex almost fell off the golf cart.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate chip.

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Be humble, be dedicated, be persistent, and learn to love what you do.

What does your bright future look like?
After high school I want to go to Spelman College for an undergraduate degree in creative writing and a Master’s in Developmental Psychology. After I’m done with my Master’s I want to start my own practice and work for a while before I go back to school for a Ph.D. in Developmental Psych.

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: Chris Uhrich

chris-ulrichCookie Cart’s 8th Annual Chefs’ Dinner is on October 30 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 line up chefs for this year’s event, including Chris Uhrich of Mucci’s Italian.

Chris Uhrich was born and raised in the Twin Cities. From a very early age he found himself in the kitchen. He worked as a busboy in a restaurant from age 13 and became a cook at a local pizza shop later that year. He received a hand crank pasta roller as a gift that Christmas and that solidified his fascination with Italian food as well as working with dough. Chef Chris has always been the happiest in the kitchen when his hands were covered with flour. The magic of cooking, for Chef Chris, has always been the simple transformation of humble ingredients. That’s a philosophy that has been associated with Italian cooking for centuries–and that’s why it resonated so strongly with him.

Chef Chris attended the Art Institute International Minnesota while working as a cook in some high end restaurants in Minneapolis including Corner Table and Heidi’s. After school ended in the winter of 2013, he went on to be Sous Chef at The Strip Club Meat and Fish in St. Paul. This is where Chef Chris met his current business partner and they decided to open a new restaurant.

Chris is very proud to have opened Mucci’s Italian in February of 2016. Mucci’s serves very simple, rustic Italian American food with a great attention to detail. He likes to say that the food is all about family, tradition, and the slow passing of time. Pizza, pasta, and weekend morning doughnuts. Everyone’s guilty pleasures, really.

Visit the Chefs’ Dinner main page »

Meet the Chefs: Zach Schugel

zach-schugelCookie Cart’s 8th Annual Chefs’ Dinner is on October 30 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 line up chefs for this year’s event, including Zach Schugel of Birch’s on the Lake.

Zach grew up in a small German town in Southern Minnesota. He moved to Minneapolis to pursue his Culinary Arts Degree at the Art Institute International Minnesota directly after high school. While in school, he completed a few self-internships, participated in many volunteer school activities, and was a member of the ACF Junior Culinary Team. Chef Zach worked at Alma, a James Beard Award winning restaurant, for three years, which set the bar for his culinary standards. Upon graduation from the Ai in 2011, at the young age of 21, he was given the opportunity to open a new restaurant as the Executive Chef in downtown Wayzata. His discipline, attention to detail, and his overall passion for great food and great service has got him where he is today, as chef at Birch’s on the Lake in Long Lake.

Visit the Chefs’ Dinner main page »

Introducing September’s Rising Stars!

Congratulations Tazjha and Solomon!

Cookie Cart chooses two youth employees each month as our Rising Stars. Our program staff work 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 Tazjha and Solomon stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below or stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

TazjhaTazjha_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?

6 months

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I get to work with and interact with people my age. I also love the fact that I get to interact with my community.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I come in with a positive attitude even if I’m not feeling well that day. I come with a smile and get to work. I’m also a person you can count on.

What is the secret to your success?
Ask questions always, help always, step up to challenges.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
My interview because I always had to practice those type of things at home, and I finally got to do it. I was a little nervous, but it ended up being a great experience – and I got the job!

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Peanut butter has been my favorite lately.

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Stay positive, ask questions, always smile, and most of all – have fun!

What does your bright future look like?
First I want to graduate high school with a 4.0 GPA. Then I want to go to Spellman College in Atlanta and study either music or business. Music because I’m a singer and low-key want to be a performer with a teaching or speaking side job. Business because you get to interact with a lot of people, which opens more doors for you and can add another page to your life. I also want to be a mentor for teenage girls when I’m older. I’m in the Girls Mentoring Group here at Cookie Cart and it’s helped me to take my future seriously. I want to be able to tell my story to other teens and encourage them to do great things.

SolomonSolomon_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
I started taking classes at Cookie Cart in June. But I volunteered a lot before I was hired.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like meeting new people and washing dishes. Sometimes there’s 150 or so dishes back there, but I think it’s an easy job.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I wash dishes better than anyone else. And I also work hard, focus, and get stuff done.

What is the secret to your success?
I’m quiet, which gives me time and space to think, focus, and get work done. I think I’m a quiet leader because when others see me being quiet and focusing, they will follow – I lead by example.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
We went to a workplace visit at AT&T. It was something new to me. We learned about why you shouldn’t text and drive, and it was just interesting.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate Chip – especially when it’s warm. Melts in your mouth.

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Have fun, work hard, focus, and be yourself!

What does your bright future look like?
My first goal is to be promoted to Cart Captain, then I want to be a Bakery Assistant. After high school I want to go to college and then to Law School. Cookie Cart is helping me stay focused on my future and is preparing me by giving me the opportunity to work with people and build leadership skills.

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