Work Options for Women: Winter Newsletter

Work Options for Women Newsletter

Cafe United

View of Cafe United

Work Options for Women (WOW) opened its third training site in October 2014. The café is located at the new Mile High United Way Morgridge Center for Community Change, at Park Avenue and California Street in the Curtis Park neighborhood right here in Denver. At Cafe United, we serve coffee, breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. To view the full menu, visit cafeunited.com.

Signature Salads

Cafe United’s Signature Salads

 

ABOUT CAFÉ UNITED

At Cafe United, WOW is able to offer students a higher level of training including barista, catering, and supervisory skills training. By obtaining these additional skill sets, and by having real-life experience in these roles, WOW students will become more competitive in the food service industry and seek jobs that pay a higher wage.
Also, 100% of the proceeds from your purchase will benefit Work Options for Women’s mission to help impoverished women gain the skills and confidence they need to work their way out of poverty and become gainfully and permanently employed in the food service industry.
Support Cafe United on Facebook. Go to http://www.facebook.com/CafeUnitedDenver and click the like button to get the latest news from Cafe United right to your news-feed.


Carrie Shores

Chef Carrie Shores

 Welcome to WOW Chef Carrie Shores
Before becoming the Chef Manager at Cafe Options this past November, Chef Carrie was the executive chef at Table 6 on E 6th Ave and Corona Street in Denver, Colorado.
As the executive chef at Table 6, Chef Carrie earned many accolades, including being admitted into the Denver Five’s exclusive lineup of Colorado’s most-extraordinary chefs of 2014. Chef Carrie is best known for her love of farm-to-table cuisine. In a recent interview with Westword she said, “Let’s focus on real food and real ingredients”, expressing her dislike of fake or imitation foods.
Chef Carrie spent many hours in the WOW kitchen as a volunteer before joining the WOW team, teaching unemployed and disadvantaged women culinary skills. Her mantra “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” rings in the minds of WOW’s students learning in our kitchens, her new home. Work Options for Women is very lucky to have her.
Hang out with Chef Carrie on April 7, 2015 for Work Options for Women’s April Cooking Class at Cafe Options. Chef Carrie will be leading the class, demonstrating some of her favorite recipes and answering your questions.
For more information about Cooking Classes at Cafe Options, visit workoptions.org/cookingclasses.


2014 Graduates

Some of the WOW graduating class of Fall 2014

Congratulations Fall 2014 Graduates
This past October, Work Options for Women honored sixteen students who have completed WOW’s Culinary Job Skills Training program and have been employed for at least three months. Each graduate was presented with an official Work Options for Women Graduation certificate and a brand new chef’s knife to get them started on their new career in the food service industry.
We could not be more proud of all our graduates. They have worked hard to overcome past barriers to employment and to learn culinary and job skills like: Kitchen Math, ServSafe and Knife Skills. With their new skills, confidence and chef’s knives, these graduates are fully equipped to be successful in gaining self-sufficiency.
After graduation, WOW graduates have the opportunity to continue their culinary education at WOW by attending Advanced Culinary & Supervisor Skills Training Courses. These courses are designed to help students become more competitive in the food service industry and seek jobs with higher wages and opportunities for advancement.


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Cafe United is Open

Cafe United

Cafe United

Now Open!

Work Options for Women (WOW) is happy to announce the opening of Cafe United!

Come see us at the Mile High United Way Morgridge Center for Community Change at 711 Park Avenue West #180. Cafe United will be serving coffee, breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

At Cafe United, WOW will be able to offer students a higher level of training including barista, catering, and supervisory skills training. By obtaining these additional skill sets, and by having real-life experience in these roles, WOW students will become more competitive in the food service industry and be able to seek jobs that pay a higher wage.

Also, 100% of the proceeds from your purchase will benefit Work Options for Women’s mission to help impoverished women gain the skills and confidence they need to work their way out of poverty and become gainfully and permanently employed in the food service industry.

Finally, please consider supporting Cafe United on Facebook. Go to www.facebook.com/CafeUnitedDenver and click the like button to get the latest new from Cafe United right to your news-feed.

We hope to see you at Cafe United soon!

Update: Raise $5,161 in 20 days

Thank you, for getting our campaign off to an amazing start!!

We can’t believe we are already over 58% funded after 15 days.

With the funds raised so far we will be able to buy an espresso machine for the new training station!! Thank you for believing in Work Options for Women and for being a part of our mission to empower under-served women through culinary job-training.

 

We need to raise an additional $2,168 in order to reach our goal of $5,161, which will allow us to complete the Barista Training Station at Cafe United. Please help us keep momentum going in the campaign by:

1) Emailing the campaign link, igg.me/at/WOWforSocialChange, to anyone who you think might be interested in contributing
2) Use the social icons on our campaign homepage to share through Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
3) Add a comment to our campaign homepage and share why you believe in this work!
Thank you again for your support and being a part of the WOW community. Here’s to a successful campaign!

With Gratitude,
-WOW Staff, Students, Graduates and Board Members

Join Work Options for Women on Indiegogo!

In Interesting Image!

Thank you to everyone who has already contributed to WOW’s Capital Campaign to build Cafe United.

Wait! We aren’t done yet.
Our challenge for the last 20 days of our Capital Campaign is to raise $5,161 for the Barista Training Station at Cafe United. The Barista Training Station will be a pivotal part of the new advanced training curriculum and a wonderful addition to Cafe United.

Check out our crowdfunding site!
We have created a donation page on Indiegogo, a popular crowdfunding site. Every time you and your friends donate on our Indiegogo page, you will be eligible to claim a perk! These perks are WOW’s way of saying THANKS and range from a Facebook shout-out to a signed photograph of our current WOW class.
Find Indiegogo page at: igg.me/at/WOWforSocialChange

Please join us in building Cafe United and play a huge role in building a better future for Denver women.

Why WOW on #COGivesDay?

Tomorrow is Colorado Gives Day — a 24-hour period of fundraising in Colorado, a chance to “give where you live.” Starting at midnight tonight, there are no processing fees, so 100% of your donation through the Colorado Gives Day website goes right back to the nonprofit of your choice.

With thousands of nonprofits participating in the state’s largest fundraiser, here are five reasons why you should donate to Work Options for Women on #COGivesDay:

1. We enable students to change their lives. We give our students resources and training they can use to become permanently and gainfully employed in the food service industry. Many of our students have not completed high school. Some were homeless when they began the program, and some have a criminal background. The decision and determination to work hard is in their hands.

2. We are innovative. We are constantly evaluating our program to see how we can better serve our students. For example, we recently streamlined our case management aspect of the program, so that now students work with the same case manager throughout their time with WOW.  Additionally, we have begun to develop our advanced culinary and supervisory skills training program for WOW graduates who want to further their skills.

3. We build on past success. In 2011, we placed 25 students in employment. That number jumped to 63 in 2012 — a 250% increase over the prior year. With a month still to go, we have helped 51 students find employment in the food service industry in 2013, with six students currently in the job-search phase of their training. Also this year, we celebrated two of our largest graduating classes in April and October. A WOW graduate is a student who has not only completed training, but also has maintained employment for at least three months.

4. We provide real-world training. Students begin working in a fast-paced, high-pressure kitchen environment right from Day 1. Our chef instructors expect the same traits from our students that any employer would: getting to work on time and ready to go, having a good attitude, working safely and cleanly, working well with a team, communicating well and asking good questions.

5. We are always there for our students. Even after they graduate. We provide follow-up services to our students three months, six months, and 12 months after they have completed the program. But they also can utilize our case managers even after they have found employment.

Donate to Work Options for Women here on Colorado Gives Day.

Tell your Twitter followers you’re supporting Work Options for Women on #COGivesDay.

Meet Jasmine!

Not many of us are forced to make a life-or-death decision in our lifetimes, but Jasmine had to do just that. The mother of four had been in an abusive relationship since she married at age 14 and knew that if she did not leave her husband soon, his abuse would eventually lead to her death. Jasmine matter-of-factly states, “I had to leave or I was going to die.” Fearing for her life, she made the difficult decision to leave the marriage and fled with nothing more than her four children and $200 she had taken from her husband. That money did not last long – 2 nights in a hotel to be exact – and Jasmine soon found herself in various homeless shelters around the Denver area. Though she wanted to work to support her family, Jasmine had been a stay-at-home mom for 14 years and lacked the work experience and skills necessary to find a decent paying job.

After expressing her frustrations to her TANF manager, Jasmine was asked a simple but important question: what do you like to do. Jasmine said she liked to cook, a skill she picked up from her own kitchen while preparing family meals. Recognizing that Jasmine would be a perfect fit for WOW, her TANF manager suggested she attend an orientation to learn more about the program.

When Jasmine joined the WOW program, she faced many obstacles in her life. She still lacked stable housing and childcare, and her children were not enrolled in school. Her WOW Case Manager – Courtney – saw her determination and did what she could to assist her. Courtney partnered with Jasmine to secure housing and even helped her find furniture! She directed Jasmine to childcare options and facilitated registering her children in school.

Once Jasmine’s home life was more stable, she was able to focus on completing and excelling in the WOW program. Proving to be adept and eager, Jasmine emerged as a leader in the kitchen. Completing 11 weeks in the program, Jasmine began a 4-week internship at Café Options. With this additional experience under her belt, she began the job search in the WOW Career Center. Submitting many applications and resumes with no interviews, Jasmine was a bit discouraged. However, her determination kept her going and she soon had multiple interviews, all of which she aced – Jasmine was offered 3 jobs in one day!

In less than a year, Jasmine has moved from a dependent, abusive relationship to an employed, independent woman. She says, “I have grown to be self-sufficient and a positive single mother for my children.” Her children are proud of her and so are we. We know Jasmine will go far – she already has aspirations of owning and operating her own Latin/Caribbean style food truck. We wish Jasmine the best as she undertakes a new career and a new life.

Bravo Press Release

jennifer-jasinski-fullWork Options for Women has been fortunate over the years to have many great chefs in the Denver area support our mission (WomenCook!) and we have some really exciting news to share. Jennifer Jasinski, one of Denver’s most awarded chefs and owners to some of Denver’s most popular restaurants, Rioja, Bistro Vendôme and Euclid Hall will appear as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters series premiering on July 24th and will compete for WOW, her charity of choice! There will be cash prizes awarded each week as well as a $100,000 grand prize. So if Jennifer wins, WOW wins!

In addition to this exciting news, the show has introduced an interesting twist with an online series for the sous chefs of the competing contestants. Chef Jorel Pierce of Euclid Hall will also be participating in an online competition, which has already begun!

We wish Jennifer not only the best in the competition but for continued success in the culinary world. We are honored to be her charity of choice.