The Hutton Settlement SALUTE program is committed to providing youth opportunities for hope and wholeness through sustainability and leadership education. With multiple projects created and completed throughout this past year, one such venture has captured the minds and hearts of a few of our high school residents. In October of last year, a seed was planted to establish a youth entrepreneurship program centered around America’s favorite daily beverage, coffee! The HOPE Neighborhood Roastery (Hutton Opportunities for Professional Exploration) concept was born and soon blossomed with the financial support from the Hagan Foundation and local Millwood partners, Bottles and the Concordia Masons. Fulfilling our SALUTE commitment to invest in local products and companies, the new entrepreneur team was able to purchase a state-of-the-art commercial roaster from Diedrich Roasters at their global headquarters in Ponderay, Idaho. With a roaster on hand and green coffee ordered from importers, our youth entrepreneurship team of Parker, Roxy and Kale began writing up their business plan and renovating the old fruit dryer behind cottage four into a beautiful roast house.
It wasn’t long until the youth venture took a huge leap forward! The teens were astonished to be greeted by a surprise visitor to the Hutton campus at the beginning of the year. Steve Diedrich, retired founder of Diedrich Roasters and coffee industry icon, wandered on campus wondering what Hutton Settlement was and how he could help. Soon, Steve was hooked! He now volunteers weekly providing professional roaster education and mentorship to our new team! Steve recently noted that , “Parker, Roxy and Kale are the youngest roasters I’ve worked with and doing a better job than most of the thousands of adults that I’ve taught over the years”.
With the highest quality equipment, education and roast team in place, the new HOPE Neighborhood Roastery is prepared to share specialty single origin coffees with the community through a subscription program that will fulfill our commitment to financial sustainability. In addition to providing Hutton youth paid apprenticeships and entrepreneurship education, the program is dedicated to linking them to global cultures through the fostering of a relationship with our coffee farmers and advocating for fair pay practices, women empowerment, and agroforestry efforts on a global scale.
The impact of the HOPE program has been immediate. According to Parker, the youth manager of the program, “This venture truly brings hope to me and other Hutton kids. It gives us real world opportunities and a way to break further into the community”. Kale agrees, “I love being linked to the community and being able to share our coffee with others”. Roxy, the youngest member of the team and candidate for the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal Award sees the HOPE opportunity as personal development. “I learn skills that most of my friends won’t learn until later in adulthood. Not a lot of teens are running a business”.