CHS Launches The Co-Op Café

The Co-Op Café is a CHS program that offers activities, entertainment, speakers, cultural celebrations, food tastings and other events, on a daily basis at our Dartmouth Street Center in Malden. The cafe is open Monday through Friday during scheduled daytime hours and also operates Wednesday evenings.

The Co-Op Café was an idea born in the fall of 2017 to address the needs of individuals who were seeking more opportunities for adult learning and socialization. During the warmer months, individuals spend time in nature and participate in outdoor activities and events at the CHS-Jackson Farm in North Reading.  However, as Fall approached and the weather turned cooler, activities at the farm began to slow down, but the eagerness to engage and participate with others did not. A coffee house or “café-style” atmosphere seemed be the perfect environment to host a variety of experiences during every season and with input and approval from the individuals served, the concept was born.

A Look Back on a Successful Opening Season

Over the past few weeks, we heralded in the much-anticipated start of Spring by announcing a new line up of events at the Co-Op Café.  But before the last of the snow melts away, we would like to take a moment to reflect back on what has been a tremendously successful first season at the café.   

The company celebrated the Grand Opening of the Co-Op Café on January 10th with over 50 people in attendance! Then, on January 15th, the café held a week-long series of celebratory events based on, “I Have a Dream”, to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in human rights activism. During the following two weeks, the café’s calendar was filled with offerings such as meditation and mindfulness classes, a participatory African drum circle, cooking workshops and live music. In the first month alone, more than 200 participants from the agency’s residential programs and Individual Supports Services program experienced the cafe. As a result, new friendships developed and old acquaintances were renewed.

In February and March, some of the most popular activities from January were included in the schedule and new events were introduced including  National Frozen Yogurt Day, karaoke night, and a live performance from a improv comedy troupe from Boston.

After each session, attendees are encouraged to provide feedback on the program presented and are also asked to recommend future topics of interest. This information is collected and forms the basis for forward planning to ensure that the wishes and desires of the individuals are met.

Springing into a New Season at the Café

Part of our goal at Cooperative For Human Services Inc. is to support individuals with a safe and nurturing environment where they can continue to grow, learn skills and increase their independence. The Co-Op Café experience can be a stepping stone for many individuals as they continue to pursue full integration into their respective communities.

The first season of the café far surpassed what was anticipated and clearly identified a need for more opportunities. We recognize the staff, volunteers and guest presenters who have come together to help make our opening season at the café such a success.

No matter if it’s the tenth time or first time visiting the café, we are certain individuals will have a great time!