Collegium Cafe: The Third Place
Ashley Duarte and her family were one of the first families to live in Tierra Vida, a growing community surrounding the Collegium building. Ashley is a 17-year-old who is about to start her senior year at Chiawana High School. Ashley feels that it’s been a blessing to grow up in this community where there is an immense amount of support for youth and parents alike. Ashley says that her family never questioned whether they would have help if there ever came a time they were in despair, as they were surrounded by an authentic and caring community.
Ashley was a part of the first cycle of students who came through the Evening Youth Training in the Collegium Café. She excelled in her ability to learn the drinks quickly, daily operation procedures, and really took on a leadership role. She was later brought on to work as a shift lead for the second cycle of students, to work alongside them and help them gain some job skills.
Ashley says that one of her favorite parts about working in the Café is the welcoming ambiance that the Collegium has. She says, “as soon as you walk in, there is a feeling of hospitality and friendliness, and you get a sense that you belong. I got the chance to make some really meaningful connections and relationships with people that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.”
It’s individuals like Ashley that keep inspiring the Center for Sharing/Collegium Cafe staff to keep working so hard to have this third place open; Ca place where anyone can come and be in community, grow and learn from one another, and meet new people. The Collegium Cafe is open Monday-Friday 7AM-6:30PM. Come check us out!