Cup O’ Karma: Supporting Survivors Through Coffee and Connection

Oct. 15, 2019
| by:
Communications and Public Affairs

Walk into the Downtown Chandler Library and take a look around the coffee shop (straight through the front doors and to the right). A quick glance and you’ll see a range of items for sale — fresh-baked treats, lunch and breakfast foods, classic coffees, art, toys. Start a conversation with one of the women behind the counter and you may also learn the shop is there to support survivors of domestic violence. 

Cup O’ Karma Community Cafe for a Cause is located inside the library, but it is run by the National Advocacy and Training Network (NATN). NATN is a network of survivors, volunteers, advocates, staff and professionals who work together to end domestic abuse, sexual assault and substance abuse for women, children and families. 

The coffee shop serves two main purposes: It provides a stable revenue stream to fund the nonprofit’s services and operating costs, but — perhaps more importantly — it also functions as a job-training site for battered women to gain skills for their transition out of abusive situations and into the workforce. 

Many of Cup O’ Karma’s workers come out of NATN’s program for transitional housing, known as SEEDs (Support, Education, Empowerment and Direction). The program offers safe, sober housing environments to battered and sexually abused women affected by substance abuse and violence.

Cup O’ Karma Community Cafe for a Cause
Cup O’ Karma Community Cafe for a Cause

MonaLou Callery, the founder of NATN, said sometimes women in the SEEDs program need hands-on job training to gain skills and confidence to rejoin the workforce. 

“We do more than just make coffee,” Callery said. “We teach women money management, keeping inventory and many other skills that can help them move on to new opportunities.” 

Judy Baker, a domestic violence survivor and one-time resident in a SEEDs home, said being able to work in the Cup O’ Karma coffee shop gave her experience after having been away from work for five years. 

“I didn’t know what skills I had,” Baker said. “Working in the coffee shop renewed my faith in myself that I did still have skills and that somebody could believe in me and what I can do. Working with the public again gave me the support and encouragement I needed to continue.”

Callery, herself a survivor of domestic violence, began the NATN in 2002 to address the lack of transitional resources available for women experiencing a combination of domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues that often make them ineligible for other programs. 

The SEEDs program takes a longer-term approach to recovery and healing, allowing women to live in a house for up to two years, or however long it takes them to get back on their feet. During that time, women have access to a range of supportive services, including:

  • Recovery and support groups

  • Workforce development services

  • Life skill training (financial management, parenting, conflict resolution, etc.)

  • Mentoring

  • Legal advocacy and assistance

  • Medical and dental assistance

  • Life mapping

  • Referrals

Stop by the coffee shop inside the Downtown Chandler Library at 22 S. Delaware St. and speak with an employee for information on how to volunteer with Cup O’ Karma or the NATN.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence affects millions of people every year, both women and men, of every race, religion, culture and socioeconomic status. City personnel will be recognizing National Domestic Violence Awareness Month by Wearing Purple on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.

The City is lighting City Hall and the Police Main Station purple every night in October in conjunction with Lighting Arizona Purple, a statewide initiative to spread information and awareness about domestic violence and how to get help throughout our state.

Chandler Police Department lit in purple in reflection of Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Get Help

Resources are available to crime victims and witnesses of crimes in the Chandler community. Below is a list of numbers to call for help in Chandler and beyond.

Chandler Police Department

  • Emergency: 9-1-1
  • Victims Services Unit: 480-782-4535

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

AZ Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence: 602-279-2900 or 800-782-6400

Central Arizona Crisis Line: 602-222-9444 or 800-631-1314