In December 2023, we piloted our latest impact program in the USA, this time in New York City. We launched the program in partnership with Covenant House, a homeless charity that has provided ‘Love, Shelter and Hope’ to over 1.5 million young people facing homelessness in the US since 1972.

The pilot included a two-week intensive barista training program that provided participants with world-class barista and coffee theory training, as well as giving them an immersive workplace experience with one of our commercial and employment partners.

During the first week our 10 trainees, each hand selected by Change Please and Covenant House based on our time-tested assessment process, began their Change Please journey with an intensive training course from Change Please Training Manager, Jason Tsontilis. The workshops covered the coffee industry, espresso production, milk texturing & latte art, customer service, health, safety & quality control, and took place in our pop-up training academy that we assembled on site at Covenant House.

Throughout the trainee’s journey, Head of Support at Change Please, Damaris Charnley, was on site to ensure that we tended to the wrap-around support needs of the trainees in partnership with the exceptional service team at Covenant House.

After a week of learning and practice, the trainees were joined by Change Please CEO, Cemal Ezel, and CFO, Alison Egan, along with Ryan McMillan and Brandy Bertram from the USA team. They then completed three days of workplace experience at the offices of one of our commercial and employment partners.

At each location, the trainees spent time with potential employers, shadowing multiple roles in their hospitality teams and even got the chance to interact directly with the customers. The trainees were deeply grateful for the kindness, care, and support they were given by everyone involved and were enthused by the opportunity to continue their employment journey.

At the end of the week, it was smiles all around as the trainees received their graduation certificates and celebrated their ability to confidently pursue the employment opportunities presented to them.

We are incredibly grateful to Covenant House for their partnership and support of the Change Please employment model, and to our commercial coffee and onward employment partners who continue to support our mission, from the coffee they serve to the employment opportunities they present. THANK YOU!

We look forward to returning to New York in 2024 to repeat our programming for a new cohort of Covenant House referrals and help even more young people exit homelessness through the power of employment and great tasting coffee.