Local Coffee Shop is Teaching the Next Generation Life Skills

DES MOINES, Iowa – A new coffee shop is teaching young adults life skills in a youth employment training center.

Freedom Blend Coffee opens its doors to the public for the first time Monday.

Executive Director for Freedom Youth Ministries Mark Nelson said the idea started from a former employee.

“When we started roasting, there was a gentleman on staff and he kind of came up with the idea of saying ‘let’s start roasting coffee’. I kind of wanted to take that a step further to the retail part,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he wanted a place where young adults could learn skills like accounting, management and consumer interest to help prepare him or her for the real world.

“Coming to work on time, respecting authority, customer service, being friendly to customers, even conflict resolution. It is a really good learning experience for them,” Nelson said.

Employees ages range from 16 to 25. There are currently 17 employees.

It took two and a half years to build the coffee shop, but the idea started four years ago.

All of the wood that is seen in the coffee shop has been reclaimed from a local apartment complex.

The coffee shop goes back to teaching young adults critical life skills that can be used in future jobs.

“Just having confidence, so they can have a conversation with somebody and look them in the eye,” Nelson said.

Besides coffee, Freedom Blend Coffee sells breakfast and lunch food.

Freedom Blend Coffee is open Monday-Saturday 7a.m. to 2 p.m.

It is located at 2329 Hickman road.