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Success G i v in g EMPOWERING MIAMI Get to know the organization helping at-risk youths break the cycle of crime and violence while feeding the less fortunate in The 305. TEXT BY KAYLA AVILA It may look like your average food truck, but Vibe 305 is far from ordinary. Now on its 3rd Anniversary rolling through Miami-Dade County, the organization, part of the Empowerd Youth program, employs at-risk young men who have turned their lives around for the better. Empowered Youth Founder & CEO Colleen Adams launched a then-mentoring program located inside the Miami-Dade Juvenile Justice Detention Center. After years of matching mentors with troubled teens, she came to the conclusion that she wasn’t doing enough for them. “I was losing a lot of kids back to the street because they needed money,” she says. “As a result, I created a way for them not only to learn, but to profit from learning.” The program is broken down into 2 phases: Phase 1 focuses on character development, academic tutoring, counseling and mentoring; Phase 2 involves a job development curriculum that provides practical learning skills in hospitality, marketing and other fields while also teaching youths how to build a resume and find jobs. To date, success stories include Little Havana native Alex Velasquez, who went from homelessness and extreme poverty to Food Truck Manager., “The program allowed me to become more serious about what I wanted to do with my career,” he says. “It inspired me to open up my own business, to be a really good entrepreneur.” Currently, Vibe 305 has expanded to offer catering services and has plans to jumpstart a Culinary Training Center & Café in Wynwood; @Vibe305Cafe; EmpoweredYouthUSA.org. 38