CAFE 180® was thrilled to welcome two fabulous interns this past May: Oakley Wurzweiler and Teagan Kim. Both are graduating seniors from Kent Denver, a private school located near our Englewood location. Teagan primarily served in the CAFE kitchen while Oakley spent most of her time in the garden, cultivating vegetables that will later be harvested to be used in the CAFE’s delicious salads, pizzas and sandwiches. As their internship came to a close, we asked Oakley and Teagan to reflect and share their thoughts on interning at CAFE 180.
Oakley Wurzweiler Age: 18
Tell us about yourself: I’m a Colorado native and a senior graduating from Kent Denver in June. I’m adventurous and a huge fan of the outdoors, I love to fly fish and hike. I will start at Gonzaga this fall and am thinking of studying environmental studies with a minor in communications. I played goalie for the women’s soccer team at Kent and we just won the state championship!
What have you been doing in your internship at CAFE 180? I help out however I can in the CAFE, but my primary focus has been the CAFE’s community garden located about five minutes from the CAFE at Dartmouth and Elati. We are hoping to grow vegetables to supplement the CAFE’s needs in order to create a more farm-to-table process that is healthier and more environmentally friendly. I made the plots and helped plant vegetables and herbs. I also built greenhouses to go over our plots to keep heavy storms from destroying the plants. This summer I will continue to tend the garden, doing lots of watering and weeding.
What led you to become involved with CAFE 180? My school, Kent Denver, requires students to serve at least 80 hours in the community over four years, so I actually started volunteering at CAFE 180 as a freshman. My mom told me about it because she knows one of the women who founded the CAFE and I’ve done most of my community service over the past four years at CAFE 180. When I found out that I needed an internship before I graduated, I knew I wanted it to be here at CAFE 180 because I love connecting with all kinds of people I wouldn’t normally meet. The heart behind the CAFE is really amazing and I love that even if you can’t afford a meal or only afford to pay a few dollars, there is a community that cares enough about you to feed you and invite you to get involved.
What are you learning through your internship at the CAFE? I’m learning a lot of practical information about gardening and food service as I work in both the community garden and in the CAFE. Teagan and I actually even went to a botanical gardens class! Even more than that though, I’m learning a lot about myself. I don’t usually think of myself as very extroverted, but the CAFE is teaching me how to open up in a way that allows me to converse and connect with all kinds of people who are so different than I am. It’s a lifelong skill I am excited to take with me as I head to college this fall.
What has surprised you? The spirit of the community at CAFE 180! From the staff to the volunteers to the customers, everyone is friendly, open and dedicated to helping people. I knew CAFE 180 was different when I first learned about its mission, but the wonderful community I’ve found there has been something I wasn’t necessarily expecting.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering or getting involved in the work of the CAFE? Do it! Keep your mind open and be willing to talk to anyone. I’ve found people are really interested in who I am and why I’m volunteering, which has led to some incredible conversations. I give a lot of physical effort to my service at the CAFE, whether I’m running food or weeding in the garden. Yet, I’m finding the CAFE is giving me a sense of who I am and who my community in Colorado actually is. I am so grateful to Sarah, Suzanne, Sonya and the rest of the staff and volunteers for giving me a chance and showing me that I really am needed in my community.
Teagan Kim Age: 16
Tell us about yourself: I’m also a senior graduating from Kent Denver in June. I will start at Johns Hopkins University this fall and am thinking of studying public health. N I play classical cello, piano, guitar and ukulele as well as run track and cross-country. I’m a huge foodie and love eating and learning about food!
What have you been doing in your internship at CAFE 180? A little bit of everything around the CAFE! From making food in the kitchen like pizza dough or horseradish sauce to washing dishes and serving customers, I’ve gotten to be involved in a lot of the different aspects of making the CAFE run smoothly every day.
What led you to become involved with CAFE 180? I knew previous interns and pass by here a lot because it’s close to my house. Seniors at my school are required to have a 3-week internship before graduation and I was looking for something that allowed me to give back, to serve in my neighborhood and that offered kitchen experience. CAFE 180 was a perfect fit!
What are you learning through your internship at the CAFE? Since getting my first set of cookbooks and utensils as a little kid, I’ve always wanted to work in a professional kitchen. I’ve been surprised how smoothly the kitchen at CAFE 180 operates and I love that I get to help with so many of the various tasks. CAFE makes everything from scratch too, which is even more awesome. There’s also a real mix of clientele at the CAFE and I’m learning how important it is for CAFE 180 to facilitate connection between people who may be experiencing physical hunger and others who may not necessarily be hungry for food, but other types of nourishment. It’s just what our community needed.
What has surprised you? A lot of people come in thinking this is just another lunch spot and aren’t familiar with our mission. I guess I thought most people who come in would know more about CAFE 180, but it makes for a great chance to share with them why we do what we do.
What would you say to anyone considering volunteering or getting involved in the work of the CAFE? Come in and do it! I haven’t worked in any other restaurants, but it’s a really unique experience to work alongside people from all different backgrounds, including some working for their meals. The opportunity to share this mission is incredible! Thanks so much, Oakley and Teagan! If you are interested in interning or volunteering with CAFE 180, email firstname.lastname@example.org.