Cahoots Coffee Café was founded in 2003 as a collaboration between Angola United Methodist Church and First Congregational United Church of Christ. Members of the two churches had concerns that there were kids around town in Angola who didn’t have a safe place to hang out after school and in the summer. They came up with the solution of establishing a café that supports programming for youth. The mission of Cahoots is to serve the youth by providing a safe, non-threatening, non-judgmental venue to share their talents and cultivate their own gifts and develop meaningful relationships with caring adults and peers. They make this clear by displaying their organizational covenants across large posters, which helps Cahoots remain a safe and fun place for everyone.
In addition to serving good coffee and food, Cahoots has a wide variety of programs that are designed to meet its mission. They offer open mic nights, poetry slams, game nights, snow day lunches, mentoring, and more. Another recent activity was a t-shirt contest, where they allowed students to design a shirt for Cahoots, then picked two winners to have their designs brought to life. The students were excited to see their artwork printed on a shirt for Cahoots.
Scott Poor, Executive Director of Cahoots, has been with the organization since fall 2018. “My favorite part about working with Cahoots is getting to know the young people and meeting community members who want to contribute to the success and mission of Cahoots.” He shared a recent story of kids who had attended open mic nights with 60 or 70 people. Initially they came to Cahoots as observers, but with time they were encouraged by other musicians and it built up their confidence. Now, you might see one of them up on stage as a performer.
Like many nonprofits, Scott shared that the board and volunteers of Cahoots are crucial to its success. Although they collaborate with a number of nonprofits and have received support from local businesses, raising money for their programming remains a challenge. He shared that Cahoots is “a home away from home” for some of the youth who have discovered its opportunities, and said, “I hope Cahoots can help kids who feel alienated and insecure.”
Check out the video nonprofit spotlight with Scott Poor: