Introducing February’s Rising Stars!

Congratulations Amina and Elijah!

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 Amina and Elijah stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below or stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

AminaAmina_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since June. My brother works here and my friend from school worked here before. They both said that it was a great place to start.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
Getting to meet a bunch of new people who I never really would get a chance to meet.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I’m consistent and reliable. When I’m assigned a huge order, I get it done and I do it right.

What is the secret to your success?
Be on time! Know when to have fun while you’re working.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
The first all Youth Staff meeting when everyone came together. It was the first time I saw everyone together and got to see how many people actually work here.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate Chip. Hands down. You can’t get sick of it!

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Always come in with a positive attitude.

What does your bright future look like?
Me on a plane with a one-way ticket to anywhere. My top three travel destinations are South Africa, South Korea, and I just saw McDonald Island on a map today so I’ll say that. I also want to go to school for engineering. I’m hoping to get into the U of M and study abroad while I’m in school. Cookie Cart has given me great work ethic that I didn’t have before. I didn’t really know how to come in, work hard, and enjoy what I’m doing all at once.

ElijahElijah_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
I started in late October. I applied to work here because it’s a nice first job to learn communication and teamwork.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like packing orders because you never know what size of order you’re going to get. It can go from 4 dozen to 104 dozen, and it keeps you on your toes.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I think because I have a good attitude, I have leadership skills, I’m up for any and all tasks, and I’m always positive when I’m in the bakery.

What is the secret to your success?
Hard work and dedication, because hard work beats talents when talents fails to work hard. I’m motivated by my coworkers and peers because when I see them doing good work, I want to be better. I’m saving money to buy a car right now, so that’s motivating me to come to work every day.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
When we did the Mannequin Challenge. It was fun because everyone was just chill and wasn’t complaining.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate Chip.

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Work hard, do your best at everything you do, stay focused on your task, and have fun because when you don’t it gets boring and you’ll stop focusing.

What does your bright future look like?
I’m a sophomore right now, so I want to go to college after high school and maybe study engineering or math. I like working with my hands and building stuff, plus I like math. I’m a Minneapolis Public Schools Social Justice Fellow this year, so I’ll be visiting Historically Black Colleges and Universities this spring break, so hopefully I’ll be able to go to one of those.

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

First is leadership. I’ve been told since I was a kid that I was a good leader, and I’ve been a team captain for a lot of sports, but this job has helped me build on what I already know about being a leader. Second is communication because I used to not like talking to people I didn’t know, but now I like learning everyone’s story and sharing my own and finding things we have in common. Last is hard work. My work ethic has improved since working here, and I have a lot more opportunities to show how hard I can work.

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!

Cookie Cart Introduces New Curriculum

Last year, through focus groups, research, and evaluations, Cookie Cart redesigned and refocused the classroom training curriculum to move it from a subject based format to a experiential format that provides youth employees with what they need to know when they need to know it. The training is highly interactive, engaging our youth employees through individual and group learning strategies that complement and enhance their work experience, and lead them toward mastery of skills needed to be successful on the job, in their lives outside of Cookie Cart, and in securing, maintaining and thriving in future employment.

Participants move through the following three phases of classroom training as a cohort:

Foundations

Foundations IconThe lessons in foundations focus on helping new Cookie Cart recruits understand and develop the skills they need to be successful on the job. This includes relatively functional competencies such as safety, hygiene and basic employee rights and responsibilities, and more nuanced topics such as communication with supervisors and peers, dealing with conflict, and character building.

Leadership

LEadership IconOnce participants have successfully completed the Foundations lessons, they move on to Leadership. For some youth these lessons will culminate in being promoted to Cart Captain. The focus is on critical thinking, becoming a peer leader and mentor, resolving conflicts with others and between others, and more advance communication, including sales, marketing, and customer service.

Bright Futures

Bright Futures IconThese lessons prepare young people to transition out of their positions at Cookie Cart and into a next job. Youth are encouraged to think about and explore possibilities, and look for jobs that are a good fit for their interests, skills, strengths, goals and values. Each lesson walks participants through a part of the job seeking process (searching, applying, interviewing, follow-up) using real-life examples and role plays.

In addition to these three phases are classroom workshops on customer service and financial literacy, which are critical to the wraparound curriculum, and are assigned at the facilitator’s discretion.

Stay tuned to our social media to see updates on the curriculum, including first hand accounts from youth employees in the classes!

Cookie Cart’s Sweetheart Packages

Let our youth employees assemble a package your sweetheart is sure to love! The Deluxe Sweetheart Package includes 1 dozen cookies decorated by our youth employees, 1 dozen Double Chocolate Chip cookies, and Double Dutch Cocoa from CityKid Java for $45, including local delivery. The Sweetheart Package includes 1 dozen cookies decorated by our youth employees and CityKid Java cocoa for $35, including local delivery. Two great packages supporting two great organizations!

Order your Valentine’s Day treats before February 10!

Introducing January’s Rising Stars!

Congratulations Ebony and Ceciro!

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 Ebony and Ceciro stand out? Read questions from an interview with them below or stop by our bakery to meet this month’s Rising Stars!

Ebony ebony_crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
I started in June 2016. I applied for the job because most of my family worked here for their first job and I heard it was nice and welcoming.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like seeing and meeting new people and that I’m getting experience that I’ll be able to use for life.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
I’m surprised! I don’t even know. But I guess I come everyday and never call off without picking up another shift. I’m responsible and lately I’ve helped rookies with things like packing an order or finding something. I’m a natural leader.

What is the secret to your success?
I don’t let myself get distracted by other people or drama. I have a routine that keeps me focused, and I change for the better.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
The Chefs’ Dinner was fun. I liked the venue and the food was great.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Chocolate Chip!

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Don’t get distracted by drama, have fun – but not too much fun, do what your boss tells you to do, and do what’s right, not what’s wrong.

What does your bright future look like?
I want to go to college andmajor in business so I can own my own nonprofit because I like helping people. I don’t know what the exact focus would be, but something about healthy food and dance classes for little girls.

Ceciro
Ceciro_Crop

How long have you worked at Cookie Cart?
Since the end of October, so not even 3 months yet. I applied because I wanted to get a first paid job experience, and Ms. Sadia was hosting a table in my school’s cafeteria. Plus, my mom worked at Cookie Cart when back when.

What is your favorite thing about working at Cookie Cart?
I like the environment – everyone is cool and easy to get along with, it’s fun to come to work, and it’s drama free.

Why do you think that we chose you for Rising Star?
During peak season and when school was out, I worked everyday, and even on the days I didn’t work I would call in and ask if they needed help. I also get everything done and move onto the next task.

What is the secret to your success?
Work hard, come everyday, have fun, and interact with people – share stories with them and it’ll make the job more fun and time go by faster.

What is your most memorable moment at Cookie Cart?
All the rookies did the Mannequin Challenge. It was huge, we were in the bakery and upstairs.

What is your favorite type of cookie?
Double Chocolate Chip

Can you share some advice on how to become Rising Star?
Put forth your best effort, be a good worker, do what you’re supposed to do, and have positive body language. Don’t ever turn your back on a difficult task.

What does your bright future look like?
After I graduate high school, I want to go to college and become either a civil engineer or a teacher.

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!

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 »