(Paramus, NJ) – June 30, 2014 – To most people, a cupcake is a delicious treat that pairs well with a cup of coffee or tea. But to the teenage mothers who live at Zoe’s Place, a program of Children’s Aid and Family Services, cupcakes play a far more important role: they help them attain essential job skills, and also provide revenue to Zoe’s Place.
Jane Fiedler and Miriam Bloom were among a group of women that saw a need for safe, supervised housing for homeless young mothers and mothers-to-be. More than 10 years ago, they set a goal to create that supportive environment, and were determined to find a way to fund it as well. Out of these dreams, Zoe’s Place and Zoe’s Cupcake Café were born.
In January 2014, Zoe’s Place and Zoe’s Cupcake Café became programs of Children’s Aid and Family Services. “The services are a natural extension of our work helping vulnerable children and families in the community,” says Bob Jones, Ph.D., President & CEO of Children’s Aid and Family Services. “There is a tremendous need for Zoe’s Place. Along with Zoe’s Cupcake Café, it provides hope and opportunity to these young women. I’m delighted that the Café is celebrating this milestone.”
It took several years and a $100,000 grant from Women United in Philanthropy to launch Zoe’s Cupcake Café, located in Teaneck, NJ, in 2009. More than 15 teenage mothers have worked there since it opened, learning baking, customer service, marketing and social media skills. “Most of the girls work here part-time and also attend school,” says Jane, Co-Manager of the Cafe. “Our goal for them is to learn to navigate life, obtain an education and be independent.”
Zoe’s Place opened its doors in 2011, with support from Bergen County United Way, Bergen County Habitat for Humanity and the community. It has been home to 29 teenage mothers and their babies. The mothers are required to go to school, attend job training or work full-time. Zoe’s Place provides child care services and support services for the mothers, including mentoring, a helpline and a support group. “No one is ever prepared to be a parent until it happens,” says Liz Mason, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer for Children’s Aid and Family Services. “Economics make it even more difficult for young moms, who often lack education and job skills. They need this kind of support to help them build a stable life. The babies’ futures depend on their moms being successful.”
Christian, one of the young mothers who lives at Zoe’s Place, says, “Zoe’s place is a not only a home where young ladies and their children can live or a cupcake shop where we can make some extra money, but it’s family. This program has given me stability, encouragement, protection in our safe and supervised housing, and support, qualities which are crucial for mothers and our children.”
Zoe’s Cupcake Café is celebrating its 5th anniversary on Saturday, July 19 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. outside of its location at 740 Chestnut Street in Teaneck. There will be free samples of cupcakes and other baked goods, and music.
Giving never tasted so good
Proceeds from Zoe’s Cupcake Café support Zoe’s Place, a program of Children’s Aid and Family Services, which provides a safe, supervised home and supportive services for young mothers and their babies who otherwise might be homeless, a helpline and a support group for young moms. The cupcake café also provides employment and training opportunities for the mothers.
About Children’s Aid and Family Services
Children’s Aid and Family Services is a leading nonprofit human services organization serving northern New Jersey. The agency is fully accredited and has served the community for more than 110 years. Its mission is to preserve, protect, and when needed, provide families. Motivated by compassion and in partnership with the community, we make positive lasting differences in the lives of those we serve. We provide high quality, innovative services to children and their families that advance social, educational and emotional development and wellbeing. For more information on Children’s Aid and Family Services, call 201.261.2800 or visit www.cafsnj.org.