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Get ready to kick start AntFarm Cafe and Bakery

-  Donations of any amount will open doors of the student-operated business


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Intern Tess Brookhart, right, works with Ethan Stubbs in preparation for his GED.The AntFarm program in Sandy is at a crossroads, and its nonprofit board of directors is asking local residents for the kick start that will put their clients into a sustainable business and ensure a productive future.

Nunpa, director of the nonprofit organization Woape, which runs AntFarm, is using the national online program called Kickstarter to facilitate help with this business venture, which is critical to achieving AntFarm’s goals.

What’s the plan?

The plan is to complete construction and purchase the rest of the furnishings and equipment for the AntFarm Bakery and Cafe business.

That requires an additional $30,000, above the grants and fundraisers already used to begin construction. With this additional contribution from the greater Sandy community, the student-operated business would open in January 2013.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: - AntFarm students plant tomatoes last spring in the 1.5-acre garden in west Sandy. The crops are harvested for the benefit of clients of the Sandy Community Action Centers food pantry. This cafe and the garden that supplies it with fresh food each year would provide internships, education and employment to 48 young people who desperately need that support, Nunpa said.

“This (project),” he said, “is the culmination of a powerful 2-1/2 years of grassroots effort and volunteer dedication to help youths develop skills.”

The cafe is designed to use local, organic food to create three healthy meals each day and give young people a chance to learn to be better citizens and people.

Kim Wheeler of Sandy, a board member of Woape, says the cafe’s purposes are diverse.

“We will be able to teach (youths) job skills, customer service skills and the basics of cooking and nutrition,” she said, “and just having mutual respect for one another.”

How Kickstarter works

Kickstarter functions as a go-between to collect actual pledges of financial support for AntFarm’s project.

People and organizations pledge certain amounts using their credit cards and if the total pledges received on the Kickstarter website reaches the pre-set goal within 30 days, all of the credit cards are charged.

It’s all or nothing.

This project has until Dec. 4 to reach the goal of $30,000. It is now just short of 100 people contributing almost $10,000, and needs more support from the greater Sandy community within the next 19 days. To be exact, by 10:32 a.m. (PST) Tuesday, Dec. 4.

To see a video about AntFarm and how the bakery and café would assist local youths, visit the website at kck.st/Pw2Vxg.

How AntFarm works

Nunpa is an occupational therapist who lives in Brightwood but serves clients in Portland.

Through Woape, he is serving an entire population of underserved youths in the Sandy area who otherwise would be out of school, on the street and possibly homeless or involved in criminal activity.

He and a group of volunteers are teaching and being examples for these young people, offering life skills, job skills and chances to volunteer and give to others through their efforts and hard work. There have been 300 youths join the program during the first 21 ½ years of its existence.

AntFarm has indoor and outdoor classrooms, which include a learning center with state-of-the-art technology, tutors and mentors as well as a cultural and art center and the (under construction) cafe and bakery.

In its outdoor classrooms, AntFarm has a community garden that has given tons of fresh food to the Sandy Community Action Center.

It also has a Community Connect program that has young people going to the homes of elders and disabled people to assist them with home management tasks.

AntFarm youths also participate in an outdoor adventures program that involves hiking, biking and other outdoor adventures.

The youths also volunteer with AntFarm’s YouthCore to help government agencies build and maintain hiking and biking trails around Mount Hood.

Another program has some local youths connected to professionals in Holland that would take the Sandy kids to the homes of Dutch kids with autism to help them experience outdoor adventures.

Grand finale

Even though Kickstarter has received a little less than one-third of the fundraising goal, Nunpa continues to have a positive attitude.

“When we open the cafe, this would more than double our youth workforce development capacity,” he said, “which is very exciting for this town.

“This campaign is the biggest we have done, and is the grand finale to all as we anticipate reaching the goal and utilizing the money to open the AntFarm Cafe and Bakery.”

For more information, visit woape.com.