Cafe helps young people transition out of foster care

BREWERYTOWN (WPVI) -- Today Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter cut the ribbon on a very special new caf in Brewerytown.

The Monkey and the Elephant on West Girard Avenue only hires young adults who are transitioning out of the city's foster care system.

It's a place where love, support, a homemade sandwich and a locally sourced cup of joe go a long way.

Owner Lisa Miccolis explains, "We exist solely to employ and work with former foster youth."

The shop not only hires former foster kids for jobs, but trains them as well.

Remi is one of the caf's employees. He aged out of foster care four years ago.

He says, "Within the five years from now, I kind of like want to see myself as owning a restaurant."

The coffee shop serves up sandwiches and pastries made in house and brews locally roasted One Village coffee.

And at the counter Lisa leaves literature so customers can see the overwhelming odds former foster kids must overcome when they turn 18 and lose their support system.

"One in four will become incarcerated within the first two years and 40 percent will experience homelessness. Less than 3 percent will earn their college degree, and about 33 percent will live below the poverty line," Lisa said.

The idea and the shop's name were inspired by a friend who'd been in foster care.

Lisa tells us, "It's our favorite animal. So his is the elephant and mine is the monkey."

According to Lisa, 95 percent of kids will age out of the foster care system without a source of income. So this store is really giving these kids a fighting chance.
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