The Lincoln Center Leadership Academy is pleased to announce a community partnership with Valerio Coffee Roasters. In an effort to fulfill our mission statement of “transforming lives and communities through education, coaching and counseling,” TLC Leadership Academy and Valerio have worked together to create a coop opportunity for our high school seniors. TLC Leadership Academy @ Audubon currently has two seniors participating in a paid work co-op at the micro roaster. This is a particularly impactful opportunity for our students because Valerio’s is located directly across the street from the Academy.
Karyssa Harrison, a 17 year-old high school senior, is serving up Valerio’s single origin special coffee to the community at the Eisenhower Avenue store- front location. She assists with office administration duties and brightening the day of Valerio’s customers with her welcoming smile. She enjoys learning the intricacies of the small micro roaster coffee business.“I want to be in cosmetology and this helps me get to know more people around [the area],” Karyssa said.
Dylan McArdle, an 18- year old high school senior works in the warehouse of the facility, packaging orders, assisting with the roasting process, and maintaining the equipment. This opportunity helps him gain practical experience, serve the community and manage a budget. In addition, he is developing a strong work ethic and learning from experts in the field.
This neighborhood partnership has been so successful, that since its inception 1 month ago, both the Valerio staff and our students requested to increase their hourly commitment from 2 half days per week to 5 days per week. The students have embraced this opportunity with vigor. They use their time wisely to complete their appropriate coursework, and balance their school, work and home schedules. TLC Leadership Academy staff look forward to offering more work coop opportunities with other community organizations.
“The opportunity that our students have with our friends at Valerio Coffee Roasters, is a win-win,” said Mark Stroka, Educational Director at the TLC Academy. “The students are making a competitive wage and are receiving elective credits toward graduation. Our neighbors are very grateful to have such great, hardworking, and dependable employees. We are proud of Dylan and Karyssa and are fortunate to have such great role models for TLC Leadership Academy.”
By Kristin LaGravenis
Kristin LaGravenis is the Marketing Manager at the Lincoln Center for Family and Youth. Kristin has a degree from Pennsylvania State University in mass communications. Her background is in media broadcast , media buying, and media sales.