Emily's Coffee shop, which helps refugees, immigrants with English and job skills at risk of closing

DENVER -- Imagine moving to a new country where you barely know the language or the customs.

Emily’s Coffee shop, which is part of the Emily Griffith Technical College, has been helping immigrants and refugees learn both for years and is now in danger of shutting down after the grant used to operate the coffee shop was not renewed.

“June 30th is the last day of our funding,” instructor Kandyce Pinckney told Denver7. “Unless we can come up with that funding before then, our coffee shop will no longer be an instructional program and likely close.”

The program helps students like Sara Nassr, who came to Denver from Syria.

“I hope that we will get support for this program because a lot of people would miss this,” Nassr said. “Being able to be with the community and try to speak to people here, understand more, gave me confidence to go out and find a job.”

I got a job thanks to this program. I got a job as a barista at the Tattered Cover,” said Ukrainian student Diana Dmytrychenko. “I love this place. I really love this job. I love to communicate with people. I love to make them coffee, make them happy.”

A group of fourth graders from the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, which is housed in the same building, are doing what they can to help save the coffee shop. 

“If the coffee shop closes down a lot of refugees won't be able to have any English classes,” a fourth grader named Sylvie said.

While learning about human rights, the younger students started interviewing many of the refugees who are practicing their English and learning job skills by working at the coffee shop. They then made a presentation about what they in the lobby of the Denver Public Schools headquarters building.

“We learned that it is a really horrific experience to be cast out of your country for no reason at all,” said Pierce.

They're coming to learn,” said Elijah. “They don't have any jobs and they're struggling.”

The school needs to raise $50,000 by end of June to keep the Emily’s Coffee program going. They are hopeful the community will pitch in to help.

“We’re optimistic,” said instructor Pinckney. “Our program is unique in that it affords our students the opportunity to learn about working before they actually have to work.”

The Emily Griffith Foundation has set up a link where you can donate if you would like to help.

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