We need to care and be kind to one another.
I was blown away when I learned how America has failed older kids in the foster care system. Once foster kids reach the age of 18, they “age out”. How can we possibly allow the most vulnerable kids—those without parents—to be released into the world with no help? Many of them have nowhere to go or live. A shocking number become homeless, turn to drugs or alcohol, or even prostitution.
I ran a fairly successful restaurant at a young age, but I found that having a packed restaurant and making money wasn’t making me happy. I wanted to find purpose in my life so I started volunteering with a number of organizations.
That’s when I learned about the plight of older foster kids. I felt led to do something. Initially, I started the We Are One project, where we tried to provide everything these kids would need to become self-sustaining adults: housing, mentorship, job placement and therapy. But it didn’t work because the kids couldn’t get or keep a job. Without a job, their life deteriorated. Employers didn’t want to hire kids without experience, and they did not have the patience to teach the kids the skills they needed.
If no one was going to hire these kids, we set out to do it ourselves. So I started the La La Land Kind Cafe. We took an old home and transformed it into a coffee shop. We offer organic coffees, teas and delicious treats that our customers love. We hire former foster kids who have aged out of the system, and try to mentor them in all areas, doing everything we can to help them flourish. We want to be here for them like family. We even eat Thanksgiving dinner together!
We hope to set an example of caring for people that other businesses can and will follow. Success shouldn’t be measured by how much money you make or product you sell, but rather by the positive impact you make on society.
Most entrepreneurs think they are their own boss. I have a different approach. God is my boss. I run my business with every move being made to please the Lord. I know He is watching my every move. That is how I make every one of my business decisions.