POULSBO — Coffee Oasis-Poulsbo will celebrate its grand opening Dec. 15, thanks to financial donors and volunteers.
Dave Frederick, founder of Hope in Christ Ministries, the nonprofit organization that runs Coffee Oasis, said his organization has raised $87,000 through grants and donations to fund the opening of the coffee shop and youth drop-in center at 780 NE Iverson St., at the corner of 8th Avenue.
“The level of community support and labor and materials donated has just been phenomenal,” Frederick said.
Organizations that helped include the Americana Music Fest, Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce, and local churches, Frederick said.
In the last few months, Frederick’s organization has been hiring staff to run the center and give mentorship — and sometimes emotional support — to at-risk youth.
In January, when the Rotary Club of Poulsbo-North Kitsap and Coffee Oasis formally proposed the teen center to the Poulsbo City Council, Jason Thompkins spoke about spending time on the streets when he was 13. Instead of taking him to jail when he was picked up, a Bremerton police officer took him to Coffee Oasis.
Thompkins is now the street and school outreach coordinator. He’s joined by a case worker, a job training manager and a coffee shop manager at the Poulsbo center.
“Once we’re open, we’ll just be going full speed ahead,” Frederick said. “The street and school outreach person has been in operation for a [few months], making wonderful connections with kids and the schools and police.”
Between January and October this year, 2,663 youths were contacted through street and school outreach in Kitsap County, according to a Coffee Oasis news release. The coffee shops provide on-the-job training, with 74 youth enrolled.
Anyone is welcome to patronize the coffee shop and purchase Coffee Oasis merchandise. Coffee Oasis is a safe, warm haven for youth with no other place to go.
In the recreation area, youth can play video games, watch TV, play board games, and work on their homework or job applications, with staff and volunteers on-hand for help. The facility will have shower and laundry facilities, but is not an overnight shelter.
(Coffee Oasis recently celebrated the groundbreaking of the Birkenfeld Oasis Teen Shelter, the first homeless teen shelter in Kitsap County.)
Frederick said Coffee Oasis is still looking for recreation-related donations, such as bean bag chairs, board games, computers and video game systems. It also needs volunteers to supervise the center and go with an outreach team to bring resources to children and teens on the street.
Renovation on the center began in June. The Poulsbo City Council approved the ministry’s lease of the former Public Works building in March. The three-year lease was approved at $400 a month, escalating to $425 by year three, and not to exceed $700 per month. The estimated fair-market value is between $1,100 and $1,500 a month; the city’s subsidy will come from the General Fund.
“It’s a valuable organization in our community. It’s going to help our kids,” Mayor Becky Erickson said at the time.
As with the other Coffee Oasis locations, Frederick expects coffee sales will cover 50 percent of the site’s operational budget; 25 percent will be covered by donations and the other 25 percent by grants.
The open house will be from 1-4 p.m. on Dec. 15, with refreshments and a chance to tour the facility and meet the staff.
“The youth are looking forward to having a place to go, and I think the community is looking forward to it being open too,” said Meredith Green, president of Rotary Club of Poulsbo-North Kitsap.
The club got the ball rolling on the center when it donated $19,600 to Coffee Oasis in 2011.
“It’s remarkable to see what our community has done and how it’s come together.”