Pasadena Coffee Shop Gives Homeless Youth A Second Chance

Published : Tuesday, January 16, 2018 | 6:26 AM

Rose Bud Coffee

Image Courtesy Rose Bud Coffee

A new coffee shop on East Colorado Blvd. is helping homeless youth get back on their feet by taking them in as employees and giving them a new lease on life. Rose Bud Coffee Shop, at 2302 E. Colorado Blvd., is run by Pastor Dan Davidson, who came to Pasadena in 2009 to relaunch the First Free Methodist Church of Pasadena, now called the Rose City Church.

On Sunday, a story on NBC Bay Area news revealed how Davidson has been helping homeless youth and those coming from the foster care system since he came upon a group of them camping outside his church. He fed and clothed them until the encampment grew bigger and became unmanageable. He then had to disband the homeless camp and find a new way to help.

“That left a huge impact on my mind, my heart,” Davidson tells NBC. “There are these young people that need the local village, the local community to really support and take care of them.”

Davidson and his friend, Brett Prior, found an old coffee cart on the church property and began training homeless youth to get jobs in LA’s growing gourmet coffee industry. They lovingly named the cart Rosebud, which they now credit for the inspiration to establish Rose City Coffee, a non-profit dedicated to empowering and employing youth.

Eventually, they were able to build a first brick-and-mortar café in Pasadena, staffed mostly by empowered homeless and transitional-aged youth.

Rosebud Coffee opened in Pasadena in September. Its motto— Empowering Pasadena’s at-risk youth, one cup at a time.

Charlene Long, 26, is one of the youths now working as a barista. She grew up in foster care and eventually ended up homeless in Compton.

“It’s not a good feeling,” Long tells NBC. “Once you feel alone, you feel like there’s noone out there rooting for you. No one you can turn to or count on.”

With Pastor Davidson’s help, she was able to get off the street and find a home and a job in Pasadena. “I just want to say thank you because I never thought in a million years I’d be here,” she said. Long now dreams of going to college and becoming a veterinarian.

Davidson and his staff at Rose City Coffee connect with organizations which provide housing and social services to more fully support each youth they take in and train. The training process is a thorough mentoring model where each youth is paired with a local barista who imparts the finest skill level comparable to any specialty coffee training program currently available.

Rose Bud Coffee has also proven that partnership with other businesses in the area can do a lot to encourage change in the community.

Rose Bud works with Wild Goose Coffee Roasters in Redlands. For each pound of coffee Rose Bud orders, Wild Goose donates 10 pounds of food to a local food bank.

Other partners include Sababa Water, based in Las Vegas, which pays for one full meal for each bottle Rose Bud Coffee purchases; Hope Catering in Pasadena, which hires youth who have been outcast and overlooked; and Demitasse, another coffee supplier, which regularly donates to charitable causes of all types, including the Trevor Project, Raise-A-Child, and the ACLU.

To learn more about Rose Bud Coffee, visit

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