“We wouldn’t have been able to do the work we do without our partnership with United Way of Yavapai County,” states Courtney Osterfelt, founder and Executive Director of the Launchpad Teen Center. In a vibrant, youth-driven space, the center has become a vital hub for teenage empowerment through its diverse programs, ranging from after-school activities to leadership workshops and summer camps. For nearly a decade, it has provided a platform for teens to connect with their community and forge their paths toward personal and professional excellence.

One of the center’s most transformative initiatives is the apprenticeship program at the Moon Cafe, which is a testament to Launchpad’s commitment to nurturing young talent. The Apprenticeship involves an extensive workforce development initiative called Project Launch, which equips participants with vital job readiness skills. Through the over 20-hour training, teens learn everything from crafting a compelling resume to mastering the nuances of job interviews, setting them on a course to confident and capable adulthood.

“It’s more than just coffee,” says Jay, who climbed the ranks from apprentice to manager at the Moon Cafe. Stories of remarkable personal growth—overcoming social anxiety and gaining invaluable life skills are commonplace at the Moon Cafe. “It is a really great environment for people that are trying to start out their adventure,” Jay reflects. The cafe does more than serve beverages; it brews confidence and fosters a sense of belonging among its young staff.

The center prepares these young individuals to navigate and succeed in the broader world by immersing them in a supportive and practical work environment. The community plays a crucial role in this ecosystem. Visitors contribute directly to the apprentices’ growth by patronizing the Moon Cafe and offering moral and financial support. This engagement is vital, creating a feedback loop that reinforces and expands the reach of the center’s programs.

Today, the Launchpad Teen Center stands as an institution and a beacon of hope—a place where the potential is nurtured, and futures brightened. It is more than a site of learning; it is a launchpad for the leaders of tomorrow, continually propelled by the spirit of community and innovation.

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