Coffee shop opens its purple door to help 'street kids'

While some of us may shy away from helping people living on the streets, owners of one coffee shop not only did something to help, they change the lives of 'street kids.'

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  • Homelessness is a world-wide problem. Once a person finds themselves in that situation, it can be difficult to get back on their own two feet again.

  • One special coffee shop, however, is helping them do just that - one individual at a time.

  • This small coffee chop in Denver - Purple Door Coffee - takes in homeless people and gives them hope and the skills necessary to become self-reliant.

  • Jenna Williams ran away from home when she was fifteen years old. Since then, she has been on and off the streets for the last eight or nine years, until she came to Purple Door Coffee.

  • Mark Smesrud, program director, and Madison Chandler, co-creator, started the coffee shop to help kids living on the street. Not only do they give them a job, they teach them life-skills such as budgeting, using bank accounts and helping them understand how their physical health affects their emotional and mental health. They also help street kids find a place to live.

  • "We really want to set them on a trajectory of life that's fully self-sustaining," said Smesrud.

  • They get one year in this sort of life-rehabilitation situation. The develop close family-like relationships with a strong support system. It helped Jenna recognize her worth and value. "You didn't earn your worth, you were already worthy," Smesrud said about her.

  • "It's a place giving street kids a home."

  • The founders of Purple Door Coffee took matters into their own hands to help teens and adults living on the street. They saw a need and did something about it and as a result are having a major impact on some precious lives. Too often we stand idly by waiting for "someone else" to do something. We are that "someone else." We are the ones who need to do something even if we think it's something too insignificant to make a difference. Watch what happens when everyone thinks "someone else" will help this boy on the street.

  • We can also start in our own homes teaching our children about self-reliance and how to be responsible and work hard. Doing everything for our children will rob them of vital learning opportunities and personal growth. Read this article about teaching your teen self-reliance.

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Wendy is a regular contributor for and does media reviews. Website: for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: Twitter: @WendyJessen


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