New Leaf Cafe moves to YWCA building, expands to help more women gain job skills

SPOKANE, Wash. — A cafe tucked away in the corner of the YWCA building has some new life breathed into it from women who are trying to learn new skills.

The New Leaf Cafe just moved to the building on North Monroe after being in the Catholic Charities administration building in downtown for the last 10 years.

Now that the cafe is in a new place, it’s able to help even more women get back on their feet and gain new skills.

Volunteer Malaina Rocicot stands front and center at New Leaf Cafe. She greets people, takes their orders and makes their coffee.

“It’s a great place and I love this place so much,” she said.

It wasn’t always as easy as it is now.

“Because, I don’t know which button I should press,” she told 4 News Now of when she first started.

With the help of the organization Transitions, she’s been able to gain new skills by getting hands-on experience. New Leaf Cafe operates under Transitions, an organization that helps women get back on their feet.

“We work with anybody who considers themselves as having a barrier to employment. That barrier can be a myriad of things,” said Jamie Borgan, the program director for New Leaf Cafe.

At the cafe, you will meet workers who have disabilities, just got out of jail or were recently homeless. It could also be someone who is just trying to learn new skills.

“About 60 percent of our folks who actually go through the program actually find employment or go onto education. Once they completed the program, a year later, if we look at that status, it’s up to 80 percent,” Borgan said.

Even though the program is generally 12 weeks long, Borgan said they’ll let people stay on as long as they need, until they reach their goal.

Rocicot has been at the cafe for more than two years now, learning barista skills. Those skills helped her get a new volunteer opportunity with the YMCA.

“I like talking to people,” she said.

More people is what she’s getting now that the cafe is in its new location at the YWCA on North Monroe.

“It’s certainly busier. The traffic flow is higher,” Borgan said.

Bigger space means they can help even more women turn over a new leaf. At the last location only about two to three people were able to work each day. At the new location in the YWCA, about three to five people could be working.

“It’s really rewarding and it’s really neat to see people find passion and get excited about what they’re doing,” Borgan said of the women who go through the program.

The cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There, you can find many baked goods, lunch items and different options for coffee.

New Leaf Cafe is just one of the few options women have to learn new skills. To learn more about what those are, visit Transitions’ website.