Smart City Learning Cafe

UPDATE: We met our goal and are no longer accepting donations. For more details go to the Smart City Learning Cafe Webpage. If you want to specifically learn how we are spending the money we raised go to the Smart City Learning Cafe Finances Webpage.

Smart City Learning Cafe offers FREE drop-in tutoring to high school and older students. We meet every Wednesday night during the school year, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, at Fat City Cafe in Multnomah Village, Portland, Oregon.

Joe Minato tutors math and science, and Amy Minato aids with social studies and language arts. Often, the students help each other. The Learning Cafe is one of the best learning models we’ve experienced in our lifelong teaching careers.

Students thrive in a community atmosphere. Unfortunately, many teens have negative associations with school. Some have anxiety, others have learning differences, and others struggle with social drama. Many fall behind in class and lose hope. The pandemic worsened this trend, and the cumulative stress on students has significantly impacted learning for our youth.

The vibe at a Learning Cafe, held in a popular local restaurant after hours, feels relaxed but energetic. Teens like to be near each other in a friendly, non-competitive space. They smile, laugh, chat quietly, make friends, and have fun while getting their homework done. Peer Tutors enjoy helping others, solidify their content knowledge and skills, and develop teaching skills. Students receiving help thrive in a non-traditional, relaxed setting while making social connections. Most return week after week. Several students bribed by parents to come the first time to Learning Cafe never stopped coming on their own accord. Most nights we have to scoot them out the door!

This year free tutoring begins Wednesday, October 5 and will continue every Wednesday through the end of Semester 1. We may even add a second session geared to middle school students and possibly one for adult learners. We would like to “clone” this project and help other communities create their own Learning Cafes.

The co-owners of Fat City Cafe, Helen and Mark Johnson, say this: “We fully support this project and are honored to loan our cafe at no cost. This is one way we want to thank this incredible community who have supported us for decades and especially through the dark days of the pandemic.”

We invite you to be part of this vital and inspiring pilot program supporting effective, informal education for our struggling youth.

See our website for testimonials.

Amy and Joe Minato

Donations (55)

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  • sudhir tomar
    • $100 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $650 
    • 9 mos
  • Karen Hohndel
    • $30 
    • 9 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $150 
    • 9 mos
  • Sruthi Muralidharan
    • $25 
    • 9 mos
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Joe Minato
Portland, OR

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