Loading
New Orleans man honored for empowering youth with ‘Café’ program

.- Craig Cuccia will receive this year’s Sister Margaret Cafferty Development of People Award for his work training and employing at-risk teens and young adults in the hospitality industry in New Orleans.

The national award is given annually by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Cuccia will receive the award Feb. 12 at the Annual Combined Social Ministry Meeting at the Capitol Hilton in Washington.

Cuccia is the co-founder and executive director of Café Reconcile, a restaurant in New Orlean’s Central City neighborhood. It provides practical, on-the-job training and life skills to local hospitality school students and other residents and helps them to develop expertise in restaurant service and management.

The Café, which began in 1997 as a modest candy shop in a renovated corner of a derelict building, is one of the city’s Top Ten soul food restaurants today, with no meal priced at more than $8.

The New Orleans native became involved in ministry in the mid-1990s through his spiritual director, the late Fr. Harry Tompson, SJ, who helped him open a center for homeless people. They bought the Central City building that is now home to Café Reconcile. They began to develop the Café as a cooperative project of the Learning for a Sustainable Future Foundation and the St. John Francis Regis Hospitality School.

The current Café operation opened in 2000. Since then, more than 250 young people have completed the training program. Many have moved on to careers in the city’s top restaurants and there are now 10 full-time neighborhood employees at the Café.

Hurricane Katrina did not devastate the Central City neighborhood to the same extent as some other neighborhoods, and Café Reconcile reopened less than two months later.

Interestingly, the damage has provided both challenges and opportunities for the café. Central City has become a newly desirable location, and Cuccia is working with a church group to develop affordable housing so that the low-income residents will be able to stay as the area gentrifies. He has also expanded the focus of his program to train young adults for the many construction jobs now available throughout the city.

In addition, Cuccia is increasing Café Reconcile’s catering operation, developing a family learning center and working on the model for a “business incubator” to bring new jobs to the area.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: