Today I was reading a book by John Perkins called "Beyond Charity". In it he quotes an old Chinese poem that really illustrates what I envision for FUEL.
Go to the People
Live among them
Learn from them
Start with what you know
Build on what you have:
But of the best leaders
When their task is done
The people will remark
"We have done it ourselves."
This poem really inspires me to focus on how fuel will give pride and ownership of it self to the People of East Hollywood.
My husband and I have taken some of the first steps in the poem this past year. We have moved right into the heart of East Hollywood. Right now we are in the "Learn from them (and about them) stage, through this we are learning to really appreciate and love them. I'm always looking for ways to be out and interacting with my neighbors. I try to only shop at the local family owned markets. I'm becoming a regular at a few of the local hangouts. One of my next steps will hopefully be volunteering at one of the local Jr high schools to get to know the kids better.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
What is Fuel Community Cafe. People are starting to ask. What is it? Where is it? How will this even work? I have been keeping it relatively to my self over the last six months or so. I was afraid to talk about my dream, like it might not happen if I got to excited to early. Fear of having my heart broken, maybe? I didn't want people to know because I don't want to be pitied when I fail. I really detest being pitied.
Then the craziest thing happened. I started talking about it and in a matter of days an espresso machine was offered to me completely free (Thanks Huy!). It seems like the more I talk about it the more I receive encouragement. I even got a care package of coffee beans from a roaster who is interested in what we are doing (thanks Blue Star). Our future roaster, maybe?
So lets clear up some of your questions....
What Is fuel?
We will be a cafe that functions as a small community center funded by the proceeds of the coffee and food sold in it. We hope to focus on providing activities and a general safe space for kids and teens whose parents work a lot. These kids would other wise be on the street or alone at home. I would like to use it as a gallery space for young artists to display and maybe even sell their work. Space providing, we would do live music shows preformed by talented youth in the neighborhood. Maybe they could be free or maybe the kids could choose another charity that they want to donate proceeds to. I also envision free tutors for students. Over all the cafe's goal is to FUEL with love, the self esteem and general potential of kids in a space that appeals to them. It would be a dream come true if the cafe made so much money that we had and excess and could start a scholarship fund for high schoolers in need of collage funding.
Where is it???
Well it will be in the East Hollywood Neighborhood. We don't have a building yet but we are actively looking. If anyone knows of an empty space that is already plumbed for restaurant use then I want to know. It would be great if it was within a block or two of one of the high schools It also would need to have a large enough floor space to accommodate small music performances.
So if any of this interestes you or you have some random coffee equipment colecting dust please feel free to contact me.
Important ways you can help today:
- I'm not the best writer on earth so I need a volunteer editor for my grant proposals.
- I need to design a Logo for the Fuel Community Cafe. Any graphic designers out there who are feeling inspired please help.
- Any one who would be interested in donating to the start up costs please contact me. I'm filing for 501(c)(3) in the next month or so.
- I want to form a board of directors by the end of March, if you want to be a part of this board please contact me for consideration or to find out more.
- Any one who has ever started a non profit and has words of wisdom to share, let talk.
- Prayer and good vibes, enough said right.