Press Release, May 10, 2019
by Sophie Vodvarka, communications consultant
Edgewater Cafe Focused on Youth Employment Celebrates Grand Opening
Helix Cafe, a new business venture and youth programming initiative provides jobs and skills training to youth ages 16-24.
(Chicago, IL) This morning, Loyola University Chicago Graduates Caitlin Bostios and Sean Connolly hosted the grand opening of their co-owned Edgewater Cafe, Helix at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Helix’s mission is to reduce the impacts of youth unemployment by opening businesses that provide jobs and skill development for 16-24 year olds who are traditionally unemployed.
Speakers at the celebration included 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business dean Kevin Stevens, and Helix employee Lauren Anne Johnson. Several members of Edgewater’s business community were also in attendance.
The grand opening ceremony opened with co-owner Caitlin Bostios telling the story behind Helix:
“Sean and I were Loyola college roommates who spent many hours discussing our love for the city of Chicago that had given us so much. We loved exploring neighborhoods, trying new foods, and enjoying a concert in the park (when the weather was finally warm.) As we grew with our city, we realized that the city that gave us so much, also had citizens living a very different existence, who did not have access to the same opportunities. We began to realize there were truly two Chicagos.”
Bostios said that as they grew in their careers, they discovered and discussed some of the solutions they felt would create a less divided Chicago.
“I found myself immersed in the non-profit and educational landscape, while Sean tackled how small businesses and entrepreneurship could fuel experiential learning for college students. In each of our lives, we learned of the massive unemployment rate that youth 16-24 experience.”
“In Illinois 7 out of 10 youth aged 16-24 are unemployed. We see this as a one of the large factors in the violence in our city and economic inequity statewide. Helix is a fusion of the lived experiences and our desire to partner with all Chicagoans for a better community,” Bostios said.
Lauren Anne Johnson, an employee at Helix and student at Truman College, has been participating in training programs with Helix since January.
“Prior to coming to Helix, my experience with working is that if you are under 30 nobody takes you seriously. This has been a really great experience so far, and a totally foreign experience having Caitlin and Sean asked me for feedback and include me. This is what a workplace should be – a team effort. It is also the first time that I have gone to any workshops. The first workshop we went over how to make a proper resume. The second one was about interviewing skills and how to network. Helix is a good place for me because I’m learning new skills,” Johnson said.
48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman also spoke at the grand opening, emphasizing the importance of the employment development Helix has created.
“I can’t stress this enough, this is so needed in our community and our city. When young people don’t get a chance, it becomes a problem. Giving Lauren Anne and people her age an opportunity it is an absolute game-changed, it affects her life, her friends, and our entire community,” Osterman said.
Kevin Stevens, dean of Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business added that Helix brings to our community the vital need of dignified work.
“Caitlin Botsios and Sean Connolly are great examples of the alumni that Loyola produces – thoughtful, mission-driven people who aspire to improve Chicago’s communities. They are building on what they learned as undergraduate leaders in Loyola Limited, Loyola’s network of student-run businesses, and making it their profession,” Stevens said.