PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- At the corner of Emerald Street and Allegheny Avenue is a second chance for Micah Dickerson.
Once incarcerated for drugs in Atlanta, he is now a barista for the soon-to-be opening North Star Coffee Shop in Kensington.
"This is where I find myself actually changing the narrative and turning over a new leaf," he said.
Against the backdrop of the neighborhood's opioid epidemic, the cafe will help people like Dickerson get their first real job experience, while also serving as a spot for community meetings and a safe haven for city youth amid ongoing gun violence.
"This actually used to be a gun shop," said Rueben Jones. "So, it comes full circle - transforming something that was such a harm to the community into something that actually benefits and serves."
With a soft opening this week, Jones - who has run anti-violence initiatives for decades, will be in charge of the cafe. The goal is to paint a new picture of Kensington and the residents who live and work there.
"This is a pay-what-you-can coffee shop. Obviously, we want to make money, but people can't afford $8 cups of coffee," he said. "So, if you have a dollar, 50 cents you can still come here and get a cup of coffee."
While they don't care to make money on selling cups of coffee, Jones says there will be set prices on other items sold.
"So not on the coffee, but we'll have bagged coffee that people can take with them and those will have a set price," he said.
The cafe hopes to change lives of those on both sides of counter, one cup at a time.
"This job gives you a platform to change the narrative and the outlook on people as far as what we do," said Dickerson. "It's actually a blessing to me. Because it gave me a way out the streets. It put a solid paycheck in my pocket. To be a better example to those around me and be a better example to my children as well."
The cafe is also working with IMPACT, a group across the street that works to help those re-enter the workforce after incarceration.