Cookie Cart provides teens 15 to 18 years old with lasting and meaningful work, life and leadership skills through experience and training in an urban nonprofit bakery.

Goals and Outcomes

2013 Activity Goals

  • 145 teens will participate in 22,815 hours of experiential training and work employment
  • 60 young people will complete 1,440 classroom hours of advanced job skills training through the 360° program
  • 52 youth will complete 728 hours of classroom-based customer service training
  • Youth will attend over 90 external community sales events to begin applying their newly learned customer service skills in practical environments
  • Local financial institution employees will volunteer to teach 700 hours of classroom financial literacy sessions to 70 youth employees
  • 50 youth will spend 3,000 classroom hours preparing to take and receive ACT’s National Career Readiness Certification

Long-term Youth Involvement Outcomes

  • Gain work readiness skills like willingness to carry out responsibilities, self-confidence when speaking to a potential employer and ability to present self as an experienced employee
  • Possess positive view of their personal future and ability to achieve goals
  • Utilize interpersonal and critical thinking skills
  • Acquire connectedness to new communities


Heavenly Beginnings

The idea was simple. North Minneapolis teenagers needed a safe and engaging place to spend their time. The streets offered young people crime, violence and gang involvement, but one woman, Sister Jean Thuerauf decided to offer North Minneapolis teens something different. Something special.

Cookie Cart Founder Sister Jean
Cookie Cart Founder Sister Jean

She saw the need to engage the neighborhood’s young people in educational and empowering activities. So Sister Jean started inviting the community’s teenagers into her kitchen for help with schoolwork and to learn to bake cookies. It didn’t take long for there to be more teenagers than there was room in her tiny kitchen! Something had to be done.

In 1988, Sister Jean’s vision for a safe, secure, creative and engaging space for North Minneapolis’ youth was formalized and registered as Cookie Cart, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The first storefront was started on Emerson Avenue, and then in 1996 Cookie Cart settled into its current location on West Broadway Avenue, right in the heart of North Minneapolis.