Coffee Oasis Expanding

By Rachel Pritchett
rpritchett@kitsapsun.com
BREMERTON
The Coffee Oasis, after 12 years of helping young people who face addiction, homelessness and despair, is getting a higher profile.
Known to most as the cozy coffeehouse tucked along Burwell Street across from the shipyard, Coffee Oasis is opening a second location in Port Orchard.
It hopes to open a third in Poulsbo in a year.
Contributing to its higher profile is its coffee drive-through at Sixth Street and Veneta Avenue, which opened earlier this year.
And Kitsap County has just designated Coffee Oasis as the only severe-weather shelter so far in Bremerton this winter.
Not bad for the nonprofit that began serving just four kids from Bremerton High School and has since provided social services in a Christian setting to hundreds of people 25 and younger.
“It just came together wonderfully,” said Dave Frederick of the purchase of the Port Orchard site.
Frederick is the executive director of the Coffee Oasis and founder with his wife, Cindy.
The couple had gotten to know the plight of teens through their work as foster parents and through his work as a local pastor and police chaplain.
The Coffee Oasis in Port Orchard is at what many know as the Solid Rock Café, at 1140 Bethel Road. That, too, was a Christian gathering place for youth.
Coffee Oasis is beginning its effort in Port Orchard with a free meal to homeless youth at 2 p.m. on Sundays. A recent feeding attracted about 15 people who’d come for chili and cornbread. Working with local churches, Coffee Oasis wants to offer the meal every Sunday.
That’s only the start.
Its leaders also plan to offer all the services in Port Orchard that it does in Bremerton.
In Bremerton, many young people have called the Coffee Oasis their Friday-night place to be. There, they can listen to live music, play pool and get a meal, all in a safe environment.
They can also get a shower and clothes. And there’s counseling, help with school and finding temporary housing, Bible studies and even a Sunday church service.
On the outside, young Coffee Oasis representatives, many of them former addicts and homeless people themselves, are doing outreach by connecting with teens at Kitsap Mall, parks and bus-transfer stations. They are visiting troubled young people in jail.
The nonprofit has 20 paid staff and about 24 volunteers. A new $85,200 grant allowed it to hire three more people. That grant is anticipated to be cut to $50,700 by 2011, but Frederick believes the group can make up the difference from other sources.
“The hopelessness of the kids is so overwhelming. It’s like a tsunami,” said Daniel Frederick, who does much of the outreach and is the son of the director.
Common problems are coping with broken families, addictions to alcohol and drugs, not finishing school and an inability to get along with authorities, he said.
“I’d say they’re hard on the outside, but soft on the inside,” said Erica Steele, director of case management.
The business side of Coffee Oasis, which sells coffee and offers breakfast and lunch or catering, also helps support kids’ journeys out of trouble.
“That’s why we exist; to see those kids change,” Dave Frederick said.
The Coffee Oasis recently signed a contract with the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management to act as a severe-weather shelter this winter. There will also be a shelter in Port Orchard, at the Spirit of Truth Fellowship.
In November, Coffee Oasis is hosting a couple special events in conjunction with National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. From 6:30 to 8 p.m. Nov. 6, Coffee Oasis on Burwell will host a public celebration of its opening of the Port Orchard Coffee Oasis. On Nov. 14, four indie-rock bands will converge at the same location for a public event to raise funds for the severe-weather shelter. That goes from
7 to 10 p.m.
Coffee Oasis leaders are accepting volunteers. Frederick can be reached at (360) 377-5560.

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