Baking Bright Futures

Five teenagers wearing hair nets, gloves and bright yellow Cookie Cart shirts collect fresh-baked cookies from baking sheets

One of the newer programs supported by Kowalski's 4 Kids is Cookie Cart, a nonprofit bakery that provides teens 15 to 18 years old with lasting and meaningful work, life and leadership skills through experience and training in an urban nonprofit bakery.

Founded in 1988 by the late Sister Jean Thuerauf, who started baking cookies with teens in her North Minneapolis kitchen, the organization has grown to two retail locations serving hundreds of local teens and making thousands of delicious cookies annually. Last year alone Cookie Cart employed 250 teens in the bakery and offered even more the opportunity to complete the following programs aimed at connecting them to new communities, strengthening their goals, building interpersonal skills, enhancing critical thinking skills and increasing employment readiness:

Cookie Cart teens using laptops during a training session
  • Foundations Training. This course focuses on employment basics, including communication with supervisors and peers, dealing with conflict and character building.
  • Leadership Training. In this program teens develop critical thinking and leadership skills, learn to resolve conflicts with others and delve into more advanced communications, including sales, marketing and customer service.
  • Bright Futures Training. Bright Futures helps teens transition out of their positions at Cookie Cart and into their next job. Youth are encouraged to look for jobs that are a good fit for their interests, skills, strengths, goals and values. Each lesson walks participants through a part of the job-seeking process, including searching, applying, interviewing and follow-up.
  • Financial Literacy Training. In partnership with local financial institutions, teens participate in this hands-on curriculum that covers the essential building blocks of personal finance, including budgeting and saving, checking accounts, credit and credit cards.

In addition, Cookie Cart offers teens the opportunity to obtain industry-recognized credentials: a National Career Readiness Certification from ACT and a Food Handler Certification from ServSafe.

A teenage girl in a Cookie Cart shirt smiles at the camera as she packages cookies for deliver

Visit Cookie Cart

Everyone loves a cookie, especially a cookie with a mission. Visit one of Cookie Cart's two locations or order delicious youth-made cookies for your next meeting, party or community event. When you order a dozen or more cookies, 100% of the profits are directly invested back into the Cookie Cart employment program.

Minneapolis Bakery

1119 West Broadway Avenue
Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

St. Paul Bakery

946 Payne Avenue
Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Learn more about Cookie Cart, get involved and support their mission at