At ZOE, our Vocational Training & Life Skills Program is designed to equip our students with skills needed for life once they leave the children’s home. The vocational training gives specific education that would help them get a job, while life skills training equips the students with things that are needed to navigate everyday life such as banking, job interviewing, and getting around town.
Where do coffee & confidence come in? In addition to learning skills, one of the more important and often overlooked objectives is confidence building.
Many students enter into these programs without a clue of what its like to be an adult or how to go about daily life. They are used to either growing up at ZOE or living on the streets, and neither of these scenarios prepares a student to pay bills, get a job, or apply to college. So they are scared of the unknown world that is approaching them quickly.
One girl in particular came into the vocational program hesitant, much like the other students. It seemed as though she was prepared for regular schoolwork; just sitting at desks, taking notes, and doing worksheets. Instead we jumped right into our barista coffee class, and right away the students were pulling espresso shots, adjusting the coffee grinder, and steaming milk. Though her first few drinks weren’t all that good, as the weeks went on, she began to memorize the recipes, refine her steaming technique, and learned when a shot of espresso didn’t look or taste right.
A few months later, the same girl rushed into the coffee house with an eager smile on her face.
“Kruu (teacher) Jon, test me!”
“Okay, make me a café latte,” I replied with a smile on my face. I had told the students that a simple latte is one of the more difficult drinks to make because there was no vanilla or chocolate to hide a bad shot of espresso or poorly steamed cup of milk.
She jumped right in, and a few minutes later presented me with my latte. It was truly great, and she saw the approval in my eyes. “Kruu Jon, do you think I could get a job at a coffee shop?”
“Of course!” I said with genuine conviction that she had learned a profitable skill.
Without another word she skipped out of the room, and it was clear to me that while she had in fact learned a new skill, she had also gained new confidence. This is a great improvement from the timid girl I knew before who had been used to people telling her she was incapable or stupid. Now she has the assurance of knowing that she is capable of using her new skills. Our hope is that this will transfer into all other areas of her life so that she can live fully with confidence and courage.
If you are interested in helping others become equipped in vocational and life skills, please donate here and add vocational & life skills in the comment box.