A 2nd Cup was established in 2011 with the initial vision of being a place of employment for human trafficking survivors. Through further exploration, it became apparent that this model would not be a healthy fit for all survivors. We further identified a need for an open, inclusive space for the community to learn about the reality of human trafficking and be connected to opportunities to become involved in the fight. At this time, our mission grew to embrace three primary tenets: 1) educating the public; 2) partnering with anti-trafficking allies; and 3) investing in aftercare for survivors.
We operated for four years as a pop-up shop, traveling the Houston area serving coffee, educating customers about human trafficking, and empowering the public to get involved in the fight.
Our brick and mortar shop opened in 2015, expanding and strengthening the work we were doing, and growing our capacity for change. In 2018, we took our next step of growth by developing an aftercare component - the Brazen Table culinary training program.
Brazen Table is a culinary and job skills training program operating as an extension of the mission and operations of A 2nd Cup, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit coffee shop in Houston, TX. The program fills an important gap in survivor rehabilitation in the anti-trafficking continuum in Houston. At present, there exists no other job training programs in Houston that allow survivors of trafficking to move past the point of stabilization into true independence and self-sufficiency.
Brazen Table is an integrated social enterprise model, applying business solutions to address the social need of aftercare for trafficking survivors. Participants receive classroom and hands-on instruction in culinary training, and have the ability to move into paid employment positions within the catering program and restaurant.
The program is structured into four phases, during which participants have the empowered choice to leave at any time they feel they have achieved their personal goals.
The ultimate outcome of Brazen Table is to influence systemic change. It is well-understood that a trafficking survivor may return to “the life” a number of times prior to exiting the sex industry completely. Finding and maintaining healthy, sustaining, and independent employment is one of the largest factors in moving a survivor out of the continuum of services, and reduces the overall economic burden on the state and community organization. From the lack of education or employment histories, to managing criminal backgrounds, to ineffective or non-existent problem solving or conflict management skills, survivors face seemingly infinite insurmountable obstacles to their ability to find this type of employment. Participants often enter the Brazen Table program feeling frustrated and defeated by the job search process and hopeless that they can overcome these obstacles on their own. Within just the first few weeks of class, participants gain an understanding of how to communicate their strengths, manage conflicts in appropriate ways, and experience restored confidence and hope as they create meals from scratch in the kitchen, often for the very first time.
Success looks like changing the trajectory of survivors and providing pathways out of the lives they once knew and into the lives they intended to have prior to their exploitation. This change not only impacts their wellbeing, but provides the foundation for a lasting change in the lives of their families, significantly reducing the likelihood that their future generations experience the same vulnerabilities to trafficking. The more individuals Brazen Table is able to empower through positive employment, the fewer number of families will be living in vulnerable circumstances, thereby reducing the supply for human trafficking.
For the 2020 project year, our objectives are:
Expected program outputs, or key performance indicators, include the following metrics: number of individuals referred;
number of cohorts held;
number of participants enrolled;
total hours of instruction;
number of graduates;
number of participants employed;
rate of goal completions;
employment retention rates at 3, 6, 9, and 12 month markers;
qualitative data collection during retentions;
number of case management sessions + referrals;
number of participants certified in food safety;
number of participants reporting knowledge gained and behavioral change;
salary levels for participants in job placement;
pre/post test survey results; and
amount of revenue through catering + restaurant program.
Other data collections and evaluation points will be assessed as available to determine if program activities are meeting the overall objective of the program. Without intervention, we see survivors who are often lacking the tools needed for individual sustainability and self-sufficiency, and are reliant on community and governmental support services. Throughout this project period, and moving forward, we will see survivors who are able to systematically decrease their need for support and establish an independent life for themselves and their families.
Erica provides vision and oversight, as well as collaboration on operations to ensure the program is provided with the best possible support to participants. Erica spent 10 years in education, working with underserved and minority populations through the Teach for America and YES College Prep programs. Since then, Erica has become a seasoned veteran in entrepreneurship and education. As founder of A 2nd Cup, she has proven her worth in creating a sustainable operation working for the good of the community. Continuing as the organization’s Executive Director has grown Erica’s skills in the areas of nonprofit and personnel management, development, marketing, and communications.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.