There’s a very special café in Victoria that opened it’s doors last November.
If you’re sometimes feeling disillusioned over of the tragic events happening throughout the world these days, a visit to Imagine Studio*Cafe may just help renew your faith in your fellow man.
“So, I think we have to like…get ours over…well, get mine over there, yours over here…”
Two sweet little girls sit at a chess game, placed on a coffee table, imagining a game of chess.
And it fits perfectly, since these little girls are sitting in Imagine Studio Café.
Owner Dorother Morrison explains that Imagine is “evolving. So I say to people, ‘come play with us…'”
Play, eat wholesome food grown onsite, get creative in Imagine’s studio, and give youth a chance. Because Imagine is all about believing in people.
“I think it’s more born out of an idea of working for 25, 26 years with people who work with youth and adults, over-representation in the justice system, and [wondering] are we making a difference?” says Morrison.
And she envisioned another way.
” ‘How can we make a difference?’ And then ‘What would that look like?’ A café. You know, we can inspire some health and wellness, a bit of fitness..”
Bruce Hale, General Manager of Finest As Sea, picks up the story at this point.
“There was a Safety Supply Store here, and we were looking for a new tenant, and several candidates came…
“Dorothy had the vision to make this place more than any of us ever could have imagined.
“We never imagined that she could make a place this beautiful! And she’s just a lovely person, and she’s brought a lot of great kids in here, and we support the kids…”
Which is so important. Because these are kids that really need support.
Mia Golden is the coordinator of the gang prevention program for the Pacific Centre Family Services Association.
“These are kids that don’t often get opportunities, they often have a criminal record, various limitations…” says Golden.
“[They might be] being exploited, or at risk of exploitation, or at risk for gang, or criminal involvement.
And now, we have Dorothy…she gives them opportunities.”
Morrison’s vision has given hope, and employment, to seven young people at risk. There’s fifteen more on a wait list.
Morrison explains her philosophy. “I think we all have done well because someone has believed in us…”
And because she radiates her belief in these young people, the community has embraced her vision too.
“We have lawyers and doctors” says Morrison, “and they just come, every day, they just come and talk to the kids, have lunch, no matter what that lunch is…
“And it breaks down some barriers…”
She smiles with warm pride as she looks at the three young people behind her counter.
“They’re pretty amazing people, and I feel very fortunate. Sometimes i wonder if it’s my journey, or theirs…”