Social Enterprises

Decatur Fresh

Mission 

To decrease food insecurity and provide economic mobility to Sun Valley residents. Vision every family in Sun Valley has access to food in a culturally relevant, authentic, and inclusive environment.

Location

995 N. Decatur St. Denver, CO 80204 (Sun Valley) 

Launch Year 

2021

Summary

Decatur Fresh is a grocery market, workforce training program, and community space. The 1,800 square space offers local residents affordable, nutritious options in what is now a food desert, with no grocery stores within 2.5 miles. The grocery market serves almost 5,000 Sun Valley residents, local nonprofits, and the broader Denver community, especially those with a passion for food justice and who seek international food options.


Decatur Fresh is committed to addressing food scarcity in Sun Valley, and all residents receive discounts and utilize programs like SNAP and the Double Up Bucks Program to affordably access quality, nutritious, and culturally relevant food. Community input is built into the fabric of Decatur Fresh’s operations; resident preferences inform product inventory.


Decatur Fresh also operates a paid training and internship program for Sun Valley residents interested in growing their careers in customer service or grocery store management. Residents receive necessary certifications in a classroom setting, complete a 120-hour internship, build concrete skillsets in food retail, and determine their next educational or career opportunity with support from Decatur Fresh’s staff.

Objectives
  1. Provide affordable, healthy, culturally inclusive food.
  2. Train low-income residents in market operations, including superior customer service.
  3. Create community space.
  4. Become a cultural destination that celebrates and preserves Sun Valley’s diversity and unique fabric.

• Sun Valley Healthy Living Assessment Results. Each year, DHA will administer the Healthy Living Assessment to monitor healthy living outcomes among Sun Valley residents.
• Amount of goods sold, especially produce.
• Sun Valley Resident involvement in Decatur Fresh. Sun Valley residents will participate in training and internships at Decatur Fresh.
• Participant income and outcomes. Decatur Fresh will measure and record how the trainings and internships help participants increase their income and advance their careers.

Osage Cafe

Mission

To employ underserved young adults and train them with skills to be successful within the culinary industry.

Location

1099 Osage Street Denver, CO 80204 (Mariposa District)

Launch Year

2013

Summary

The Osage Café is a social enterprise café and training program for underserved youth interested in careers in the culinary industry. The Osage Café is a program
of Youth Employment Academy (YEA), a nonprofit dedicated to serving young adults in breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Denver by gaining stability through education, arts and technology, and employment training.


Youth in the program first participate in a 48-hour classroom-based curriculum that covers knife skills, recipe reading, measuring techniques, food safety, sanitation, and nutrition and receive the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe certification. Next, youth complete a 120-hour internship, building practical front- and back-of-house skills in an on-the-job training setting. Skills covered include serving, point of sales, food prep, line cooking, dishwashing, and superior customer service. Youth learn from an Executive Chef who manages the kitchen, ensures food quality, and offers mentorship to aspiring chefs. At the completion of their internship, Osage Café helps youth find placements in permanent jobs or additional post-secondary training. The Café is certified as a green business by the City of Denver strives to operate sustainably for the environment. It is open to the public Monday-Friday from 7:30-2:00 and serves breakfast and lunch.

Objectives
  1. Offer youth the foundational knowledge and certification required to succeed in the culinary industry. 
  2. Offer a safe and supportive environment for youth to explore their professional interests and plan their next career steps. 
  3. Provide supplemental income to youth in the internship program. 
  4. Operate a financially and environmentally sustainable café with high-quality and nutritious food offerings. 
  5. Offer cooking and nutrition classes to the Mariposa community. 

Outside of regular operating hours, youth have access to further learning and can access Osage Cafe’s kitchen as a commissary kitchen. The Osage Café will soon extend the scope of its internship training to include preparing grab-and-go items for grocery stores and nonperishable items
such as pickles, salsas, and sauces. The Café will also expand programming available to youth who have completed the training program.

Arts Street

Mission

As a program of the Youth Employment Academy, Arts Street uses the power of creativity to help young adults in breaking the cycle of generational poverty in Denver communities by gaining personal and economic stability through education, arts and technology, and employment training.

Location

1079 Osage Street Denver, CO 80204 (Mariposa District)

Launch Year

1996

Summary

Arts Street@YEA uses the creative arts to empower youth to pursue future education and employment opportunities. It harnesses their talents, provides them with real-world experience in creative industries, and helps them build valuable skills for the future through our arts-based programming.
Arts Street’s Creative Industry Academies utilize up-to-date technologies to introduce youth to careers in creative industries such as graphic design, videography, marketing,
and web design. Our internship opportunities provide youth real-world “learn & earn” experience working on client-based public art and design projects in a working studio while learning valuable job readiness training.

Finally, Arts Street’s studio mentorship provides a safe space where youth can continue to build their creative skills, find their own passions and pursue further education.


Through Arts Street’s EntrepreMURALship program, youth artists engage in community-centric art projects that benefit low-income communities, especially communities with DHA housing developments. Some past Arts Street community projects have included: Journey 2 Unity, bringing communities together around the issues of immigration;
EnvironMENTAL, exploring the intersection of climate change and mental health and offering solutions to City Council representatives, and the Vote Project, which included “get out the vote” poster designs.

Objectives
  1. Offer youth the foundational knowledge and skills required to succeed in the creative industry.
  2. Provide supplemental income to youth in the internship program.
  3. Offer a safe, supportive, cohort-based environment for youth to explore their professional interests and plan their next career steps.
  4. Create public art installations and murals in low-income communities.
  5. Empower cohorts of youth to find their voice, become leaders, and advocate for social change in their communities. 

“YEA!
Instant creativity arises
The moment I arrive
I could come down
Do my poetry, drawing or graphic design
My vibe
Turns more positive
With the door opening moment
Come here with a motive
They helped me create
And now the people take notice’’


– Excerpt from poem by Arts Street youth Mikuh M., age 19