Our Story

The M&E Program is a job and life skills program that seeks to equip youth who’ve aged out of foster care with the tools necessary to make the transition to self-sufficient adulthood. Youth engaged in the M&E program are surrounded by a community of supportive adults that they can rely on both during and after their time in the program. Participants are employed at the M&E cafe while participating in the program.

Recent Successes

We realize to change the world and the system is going to take time. In the meantime, our focus is fully, thoughtfully, and intentionally serving the youth that make the journey through our program. This has resulted in much more stable lives once youth have graduated the program.


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"The Monkey & The Elephant is a great example of an organization taking an innovative approach to creating opportunities for young people from all backgrounds."

Former Philadelphia Mayor, Michael Nutter



Timeline

2008

In the winter of 2008 Lisa traveled to South Africa. While there she met a 16-year-old Zimbabwean refugee. When he turned 18, he aged out of eligibility for support in South Africa. He lost his refugee status, had to put his education on hold and was forced to return to Zimbabwe. It was a really dangerous trip for him to make, so they decided to have a passcode when they spoke to make sure he was safe. They used a simple system: their favorite animals — Lisa’s was the monkey, his was the elephant.

 

When Lisa returned home she was inspired by what she had experienced with her friend in Africa and wanted to help others like him here in the U.S.  With a background in coffee already under her belt, Lisa decided to open Philadelphia’s first non-profit coffee shop, which would benefit former foster youth.  With Lisa’s help, Philadelphia-area foster youth now have a community and a place to call their own.


2011

Idea begins.

2012

Pop-Up at Taffet’s with Michell (First Youth)!

2013

Pop-Up at The Transfer Station with Ken.

2015

2014

Pop-Up at The Impact Hub.

Turning Point Prize to Fund Pilot Program with Tyrone and Naje.

Opened first brick-and-mortar location at 2831 West Girard Avenue, with five youth employees


Leadership Team

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Lisa Miccolis, Founder & Executive Director

Lisa Miccolis, the Executive Director/Founder of The Monkey & The Elephant, has more than eight years of experience working as a barista and café supervisor. She spent a year coaching low-income youth at YouthBuild in North Philadelphia before journeying abroad to South Africa, where she met Ephraim, the young boy who inspired The Monkey & The Elephant. Since earning a B.A. in Psychology at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, Lisa has dedicated considerable time to building The Monkey & The Elephant from the ground up.


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Karin Andrew, Cafe Manager

Karin Andrew is a Café Manager and MENTOR at M&E. She has worked in the coffee industry for 10 years, starting as a barista and shift supervisor and eventually opening and managing an independent coffee shop in Pottstown, PA. Her experience runs the gamut from customer service and crafting drinks to ordering, inventory, hiring, training of staff, disciplinary procedures and scheduling. In 2010 she was able to combine her love of coffee and passion for social justice while working at Bloom, a bakery/cafe that provides job skills to young women who are survivors of sex trafficking and ministering to such diverse areas as psychological health, life coaching, physical wellness and professionalism in the workplace. Working with this population provided a unique set of skills and background that Karin has been able to use in her position at M&E.


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Elizabeth Godown, Cafe Manager

Elizabeth Godown is a Café Manager and MENTOR at M&E.  In 2011, Liz studied for a semester in Tanzania, where she lived in the rural village of Karagwe. While there she took classes that piqued her interest in the idea of sustainable development. Armed with this newfound knowledge, she moved to Philadelphia where she began to work in the coffee and food service industries. Working for M&E has allowed her to blend together her experience in the coffee industry with her passion for helping small communities develop from within.


Karen L. Ament, Case Manager

Karen L. Ament, affectionately known to staff and customers as Miss Karen, has never worked in the coffee industry.  She also doesn’t drink coffee, but this didn’t prevent her from completing a BA in Psychology-Early Childhood Development, and a masters degree in Clinical Social Work. Karen has worked as a hospice home care social worker, a unit coordinator for Alzheimer’s patients and has provided group and play therapy for children and teens in residential, outpatient, Supervised Independent Living, and foster care settings.  She is optimistic that these experiences and her positive attitude will compensate for her complete lack of cafe experience. 


Board of Directors

Elizabeth Wendel Assistant Director, Turning Points for Children

Elizabeth Wendel
Assistant Director, Turning Points for Children

Anna Ford Associate Director of Government Affairs, Gilead Sciences

Anna Ford
Associate Director of Government Affairs, Gilead Sciences

TC Burnett AISP at University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice

TC Burnett
AISP at University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice

Nate Nichols Founder, Palette Group

Nate Nichols
Founder, Palette Group

Roman Torres Partner, Moto Designshop

Roman Torres
Partner, Moto Designshop

Matthew A. Grande COO, Shift Capital

Matthew A. Grande
COO, Shift Capital

Evan Cantiello National Program Director, Back On My Feet

Evan Cantiello
National Program Director, Back On My Feet

Richard Rollier VP of Operations, Saxby's Coffee

Richard Rollier
VP of Operations, Saxby's Coffee

Kate Kelly Social Media Manager, La Colombe Roasters

Kate Kelly
Social Media Manager, La Colombe Roasters

Marissa Meyers Camp Mariposa Coordinator at The Moyer Foundation

Marissa Meyers
Camp Mariposa Coordinator at The Moyer Foundation