It happens millions of times each day. A Starbucks barista hands a cup of coffee to a customer. Though usually a brief exchange, that moment of connection is at the heart of the Starbucks experience.
For Laura Hajduk, a Starbucks store manager in southwest Florida, those connections go beyond the store environment to the community where she's among those helping improve the lives of Hispanic teens. Hajduk is a board member for the Casimiro Global Foundation (CGF), an organization dedicated to empowering young people to become business leaders and entrepreneurs. She is also part of Starbucks Hora del Café Partner Network, an affinity group that builds awareness and celebrates Hispanic culture.
“Hora del Café looks for ways to make positive change,” she said. “As co-chair of the network and a CGF board member, I was able to connect the two organizations. The Casimiro Global Foundation engaged the network with open arms.”
In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, partners from Starbucks Hora del Café joined CGF to conduct the "BizNovator" Challenge One-Day Workshop on October 2. During the workshop, high school Florida teens learned presentation skills, created business plans and developed financial and marketing strategies. Hajduk and other Hora del Café members coached and judged participants and selected one team of students to receive seed capital to start their own business.
“It was so exciting to see the teens apply what they learned during the workshop and pitch their business plans,” said Hajduk.
The one-day workshop was modeled after BizNovator camps that CGF conducts for either one or two weeks each year. Young people from local communities and from underdeveloped locations around the world are invited to participate.
Fifteen years later, the foundation has inspired thousands of young people, and Casimiro hopes to eventually reach one million youth around the world.
“Today we have impacted more than 150,000 youth in more than 20 countries through our mission to create and empower young entrepreneurs, social innovators and global leaders,” he said.
Eli Ruiz met Casimiro when he was a 16 year-old high school student with a love of technology and talent for website coding. He had thought about turning his interests into a business, but needed encouragement to get started. "The BizNovator camp helped me turn an idea into a plan,” said Ruiz. “I learned how to structure a business and present myself in front of people. With seed money I received from participation in the camp, I started my own business called Zaawaa Tech Solutions.”
Also a BizNovator participant, Magda Gelves became an intern for CGF and is now the camp director.
“BizNovator changed my life entirely by leading me to a group of people who want to make an impact in the world,” she said. “I wanted to learn about camp creation and operations, but never expected to be running the entire program. Every year, the camps get better and I see how many lives they impact.”
Gelves plans to go to college and pursue a degree in public relations and education. Beyond college, she would like to graduate from law school and eventually become a politician.
“Through the BizNovator camp and working with CGF, I am confident in who I am. I take risks and see problems as opportunities for a solution,” she said. “Senator Gelves, that’s my dream. In the future, I see myself as a major political leader who will impact the masses.”
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a Celebrando Starbucks eGift Card, available at Starbucks.com.