ANGOLA — The holiday season brings rebirth to a long-standing Angola institution.
Cahoots Coffee Cafe, 218 W. Maumee St., a youth outreach, is changing its hours to meet young people and families where there is a need. Cahoots Holiday Market will open to vendors starting next week.
Monday night, during a public meeting attended by past and present supporters of the organization, a mother and her children entered the downtown cafe while new Executive Director Tom Adamson talked to the group assembled at the back of the facility. The family sat in the den-like setting at the front of Cahoots and played games and chatted awhile, then left while planning continued.
The meeting was called by the Cahoots Board of Directors to tap public interest and ideas for Cahoots, started 16 years ago by Angola United Methodist Church and the First Congregational United Church of Christ. The independent nonprofit’s mission is to serve youth by providing a safe, nonthreatening, nonjudgmental venue for teens to share their talents, cultivate their gifts and develop meaningful relationships with adults and their peers.
While daily visits by local youth have lagged, Adamson said the age group Cahoots was created to serve still needs support.
“Every day a child turns 13,” Adamson said. “It’s still hard to be a teenager.”
Anne Eddy, a past volunteer, recently updated Cahoots’ volunteer application. It lists 14 typical volunteer roles, “some behind the scenes, some up front,” said Adamson, also the priest at Holy Family Episcopal Church. Jobs include working with youth, supporting regular and special programs and helping with facility needs. The applications are available by contacting Adamson at 624-2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org or can be picked up during regular business hours.
Local high school and college groups have gotten involved in monthly game nights through networking by past director Scott Poor, a retired Metropolitan School District of Steuben County administrator and current MSD board member.
“It’s a really deep and amazing thing,” said Adamson of game night interaction.
The game night and monthly open mic night, emceed by Adamson, are currently Cahoots biggest regular events, said cafe manager Megan Donat.
Programs also include a report card reward system, Tell It Like It Is counseling, tutoring and mentoring. Adamson expressed interest in reviving Art Saturdays, a music camp started by former employee Victor Gomez and the Back to School Bash.
“Some of these look like small goals,” Adamson said, adding that each goal realized is another step toward offering an effective and appreciated service.
The Angola Regional Artists’ Guild has been providing a rotating display. Jodi Eatinger, director of the higher education CHOICE program for special needs graduates, said her students spend Fridays at Cahoots along with providing some light work for local agencies and businesses.
Last year, Cahoots helped four families during the holidays and served spring break and snow day lunches. The school break lunch program continues along with concerts and special events.
Cahoots Day of Giving Brunch will be held on Sunday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. People can drop in and have a tasty snack for a donation.
Cahoots will host a Christmas Walk through five festive Angola locations on Friday, Dec. 6, 5-8 p.m. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served at the cafe among other treats, surprises and raffle items along the holiday trail. The cost is $10 per person and $20 for a family of up to four people.
Adamson said Cahoots is seeking “intelligent and caring” board members. President Pam Feller said the board has been in an informal fundraising phase, sending letters to past and potential donors and soliciting support from the community.
To meet youth and local customers’ needs, cafe managers Marie Barge and Donat surveyed customer traffic during the past several months. To complement other downtown cafe hours and provide an evening meeting place for college and high school students, they have decided to offer evening hours. Cahoots is hiring part-time baristas.
Starting Dec. 3, Cahoots will be open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to meet morning and lunch crowds and then reopen 3:30-8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Dec. 3.
Special Small Business Saturday hours are Saturday, Nov. 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Four booths per day will be offered during the Cahoots Holiday Market and prime slots, including Small Business Saturday, are already being filled. Market openings are on a first-come, first-served basis by emailing to email@example.com. Vendors may sell family friendly products during business hours starting Tuesday. The market runs through Saturday, Dec. 21.
More information about the market will be posted on the Cahoots Facebook page and will be available at Cahoots during business hours.