As the middle linebacker in the Seattle Seahawks’ stout defense, Bobby Wagner is used to action swirling around him. For a half-hour today, he found himself in an unfamiliar kind of commotion as he served as a guest barista at a packed Starbucks store.
Looking just a little harried as he signed Seahawks-themed cup sleeves and served orders over the counter and through a drive-thru window at a Starbucks less than a mile from the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field, Wagner later admitted that he didn’t actually make any drinks. “They started me at the bottom,” he joked, adding that he thought he’d done all right for himself given he was new to the job.
The 25-year-old All-Pro was one of a half-dozen Seahawks who spread out among Starbucks locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Renton, Washington, to raise awareness of A Better Seattle’s efforts in support of YMCA of Seattle’s Alive & Free street outreach workers. Alive & Free serves at-risk youth in South King County, Washington.
Also appearing as Starbucks guest baristas were defensive end Cliff Avril, linebacker Brock Coyle, offensive tackle Garry Gilliam, tight end Cooper Helfet and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. Last year, Coach Carroll himself donned a green apron and took orders at a Starbucks in Renton, Washington.
Starbucks and its customers have contributed a total of $200,000 to ABS since 2013. This year Starbucks is donating $75,000 to ABS’s job readiness program which teaches critical job skills through workshops, mentoring and job shadowing programs.
The relationship with the Seahawks is one way that Starbucks is making a positive impact on young people in need. In addition, Starbucks recently announced its participation in the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, the nation’s largest employer-led effort to hire at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth, young Americans ages 16-24 who are out of school and work. As part of the initiative, the company will hire 10,000 Opportunity Youth by the year 2018.