La Crosse Community Foundation grants area rehabilitation center $70,000

The grant is going towards a recovery coffee shop in the Coulee Recovery Center

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – The La Crosse Community Foundation awarded the Vernon Area Rehabilitation Center $70,000 towards a recovery coffee shop in the Coulee Recovery Center.

The cafe will be run by VARC.

The supervisor for the coffee shop, Jacquilyn Rieck, says working in the coffee shop will change her life.

“It’s a dream job,” Rieck said. “It really is. It couldn’t have come at a better time in my life.”

Life hasn’t always been easy for her.

“I’m a person in recovery,” Rieck said. “I struggled a lot with sobriety due to a lack of bonds with the community and personal people in my life.”

But her recovery seems to be going well.

“It’s been 10 years,” Rieck said.

Her next step is looking for a place to work.

“I just completed some degrees, and I was on the job market searching for things,” Rieck said.

The La Crosse Community Foundation is making sure people can be employed at the coffee shop by giving a grant worth $70,000.

“It’s one of the largest grants that we awarded during our recent competitive grant-making round,” LCF executive director Jamie Schloegel said. “This coffee shop vision and program checked all the boxes.”

The shop, called the Good Bean Cafe, is part of a partnership between VARC and the Coulee Council on Addictions.

“We wanted it to be a warm environment, a welcome environment,” Coulee Recovery Center president Tom Thompson said. “An environment that will stimulate conversation, stimulate the thought process, whatever it happens to be. This (grant) will help move that along.”

Those at the Coulee Recovery Center know that finding a job is key to recovery.

And luckily for Rieck she found her next job in an environment she loves.

“I get to be a barista,” Rieck said.

And she’s going to use her future job as a way to tell those in recovery that life can get better.

“To watch them grow, and get their self-confidence and gain skills to be an important part of the community, that’s what’s keeping me going,” Rieck said.

Rieck says she has been working in customer service as well as working with people in recovery for more than 20 years.

She will serve as the full-time supervisor for the Good Bean Cafe.

VARC has been partnering with the Coulee Council on Addictions for six months.

The Good Bean Cafe is set to open in the Spring.