Coffee shop to hire teens aging out of foster care

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YUKON, Okla. (KFOR) - A new dream is unfolding inside this old home on Main Street in Yukon.

Rachel Smith plans to bring her food truck, the Red Bird Coffee Cart, into a permanent space and hire teens aging out of foster care to work through a referral system.

"House a mentorship program and employment program for teenagers aging out of care. That we will be able to fill that gap as they transition into adulthood,” Smith said.

She plans to connect them to mentors in their desired work field and help them find transportation to the shop if needed.

Rachel used to work for DHS. That's where she got the idea for the Red Bird Coffee House, thanks to a teen boy she met who was living in a shelter.

"And he said, 'Rachel I just want to have a job. I just want to be able to have a phone and provide that for myself and to one day have a car,'” Smith said. "That really spurred me to think, 'okay, that is something that needs to be addressed and should be accessible to all individuals no matter what their childhood was like.'"

Similar to her new fiancé, Kris Goble.

The two got engaged in the same space as their future coffee shop.

Kris was in foster care for six years and aged out, but he says his foster family gave him the stability he needed to be successful.

"A lot of us only achieve success based on who we surround ourselves with and it's those people that encourage us and then ground us that really push us forward,” Kris Goble said.

And that's what they hope to do with this mentorship program at the coffee shop.

"...we're able to show them first of all that they're loved and cared for, that we're here to encourage them and we're here to help guide them along as they grow and develop,” Goble said.

Rachel says they plan to open the shop in February and will serve waffles, coffee and lunch.


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