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.


Karen L. Ament, Support Services Specialist

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

  Richard Rollier , Chair  VP of Operations, Saxbys Coffee

Richard Rollier, Chair

VP of Operations, Saxbys Coffee

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

DawnLynne Kacer, Vice Chair

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

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

Paul Patterson, Secretary

Associate Professor of English, Saint Joseph's University

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

Ashley Wertman, Treasurer

Strategic Decision Support Analyst, University of Pennsylvania Health System

  Kathy Meck   Director of Foundation Relations, Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation

Kathy Meck

Director of Foundation Relations, Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation

  Heather Lewis   Program Coordinator, Spark Program

Heather Lewis

Program Coordinator, Spark Program

  Stephanie McKay   Senior Manager, Email Marketing & Personalization, LuckyVitamin 

Stephanie McKay

Senior Manager, Email Marketing & Personalization, LuckyVitamin 

  Heather Curl   Professor, Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges

Heather Curl

Professor, Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges

  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

  Michael Cooper   Associate Director of Compliance, Adaptimmune US

Michael Cooper

Associate Director of Compliance, Adaptimmune US