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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Nathan Matlin, General Manager

Nathan Matlin, the General Manager of The Monkey & the Elephant, has over twenty years of front of house restaurant experience. This time in the hospitality industry has taught Nathan that the skills learned through customer service are valuable skills in everyday life and can be applied to almost any career imagined. Prior to arriving at the shop, Nathan spent over five years managing a cafe for Project H.O.M.E., employing and training formerly homeless and drug addicted individuals.



Board of Directors

  Stephanie McKay , Chair  Senior Manager, Email Marketing & Personalization, LuckyVitamin

Stephanie McKay, Chair

Senior Manager, Email Marketing & Personalization, LuckyVitamin

  Ashley Wertman , Treasurer  Strategic Decision Support Analyst, University of Pennsylvania Health System

Ashley Wertman, Treasurer

Strategic Decision Support Analyst, University of Pennsylvania Health System

  Paul Patterson , Secretary  Associate Professor of English, Saint Joseph's University

Paul Patterson, Secretary

Associate Professor of English, Saint Joseph's University

  Michael Cooper   Associate Director of Compliance, Adaptimmune US

Michael Cooper

Associate Director of Compliance, Adaptimmune US

  Tatum Farmer   Manager - Cloud Infrastructure, Distributed Systems, and Middleware technologies, Independence Blue Cross

Tatum Farmer

Manager - Cloud Infrastructure, Distributed Systems, and
Middleware technologies, Independence Blue Cross

  DawnLynne Kacer   Executive Director, Charter Schools Office at The School District of Philadelphia

DawnLynne Kacer

Executive Director, Charter Schools Office at The School District of Philadelphia

  Richard Rollier   VP of Operations, Saxbys Coffee

Richard Rollier

VP of Operations, Saxbys Coffee