Our Mission

Curt’s Cafe improves outcomes for young adults living in at-risk situations through work and life skills training.

At Curt’s we provide that opportunity by teaching marketable skills and then assisting in securing employment. We teach culinary techniques but also provide instruction they will need to fill in educational gaps, gain confidence and become job-ready.  The students operate cafes to develop the tools they need to not only survive, but also contribute to society. 

We support our students in the process of learning productive life skills by introducing them to four disciplines:

Life Skills such as opening a bank account, decision-making, job readiness
Intellectual Skills such as English, math and computer literacy
Food Service Skills in the kitchen, as baristas, in counter service, and in food preparation
Experiential Skills by offering trips around the city with mentors to learn outside of the cafés


Good feelings aren’t enough; Curt’s tracks the achievement of goals such as stable housing, school continuance, job placement, and even staying out of prison. Our students boast a 5% recidivism rate, vs the state rate of over 80% for youth. Eighty-two percent of Curt’s students are getting jobs or staying in school! Our students’ journeys are not without struggle, yet so many have succeeded.

  • 195 students have been through the program in the last 5 years
  • 30% have children of their own
  • 80% are homeless or in unsafe housing when entering program
  • 63% are actively in jobs
  • 10% are currently in program
  • 10% are currently looking for jobs
  • 13% we continue to work with on life skills and job placement
  • According to the Justice Policy Institute, the cost to incarcerate one young adult per year is approximately $148,767 versus Curt’s cost per student which is $8,334 per year, a savings of $140,433 savings per student, per year

Curt’s Café (curtscafe.org)

Ways you can help

  1. Donate financially: Curt’s Cafe during our Joy-sharing collection, at their website or in person.
  2. Spread the word: Tell others about Curt’s Cafe.  
  3. Have a meal at one of the addresses listed below.  Ask friends and family to join you.
  4. Pray for this ministry

1766 2nd St, Highland Park
ph: 847-748-8086


Curt’s Café is a 501C3
 [email protected]
catering orders & inquiries:
Contact Amy, Catering Manager 224-330-7171


2922 Central St, Evanston
ph: 847-868-8385


Curt’s Café is a 501C3
[email protected]
catering orders & inquiries:
Contact Amy, Catering Manager 224-330-7171