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  • laurenmilitello

Starbucks Barista Champions Energize Community Kindness Partnerships

Updated: Jul 26, 2019

On June 26th White Pony Express and several other community partners were honored to be able to participate in, and benefit from, Starbucks Barista Championship event. This annual event happened right in the middle of Starbuck's Week of Kindness in partnership with another friend of White Pony Express, the Born this Way Foundation. As Starbucks regional manager Nick Botsford said, it was a "perfect blend of craft, connection, kindness, and gratitude".

Ahead of the big evening, each of the nine Starbucks district managers and competing baristas were paired up with a local nonprofit community partner. White Pony Express was partnered with Leslie Diamond's District 581 and the district champion barista Rochelle Brown from the Sand Creek store in Brentwood.

For several weeks before the event, Leslie and her teams created and displayed donation collection boxes for customers to fill with donations. These in-store drives supplied much needed hygiene and personal care items for the White Pony General Store summer backpack program. The backpacks are distributed by our partner C.O.R.E. Homeless Outreach. Our Starbucks store team also raised funds from team members and the community and brought family and friends to volunteer at the Unity in Community Mobile Boutique and Grocery the weekend before the event.

How wonderful was that?

The event itself was a blast of energy, music, and community. We had a great time connecting with familiar faces and meeting new community friends and partners. Some of the new friends were the spirited and talented young people from the Peter Pan Foundation.

The Peter Pan Foundation mission is to "inspire children of all ages to reach their full potential by building confidence, character and creativity through music and theater, while instilling the value of community outreach and philanthropy".

Joining in the Peter Pan theme, our own Erica Brooks, dressed up as a pirate to introduce the crowd to Rochelle and to the work we do at White Pony Express. Keeping with the creative theatrical mood of the event and to publicly thank and recognize all the community partners participating in this event, Erica delivered a sweet poem that had the crowd cheering and smiling from ear-to-ear.

Erica Brooks and Rochelle Brown

"An Ode to Partnership"

The Best Ship on the Sea!

Thank you Starbucks for all you do

without you guys, how would we function?

Peter Pan, Mindful Littles share bright ways of living

And Blue Star Moms – what a circle of giving!

How important it is to listen and learn

To the needs all around us so when it’s our turn

We bring joy to life and make these connections

Building community with love and affection ❤️

Last by not least, we were both surprised and honored to receive the Community Partnership Championship Award. This award is extra special to us because partnering with the community is the basis of everything White Pony Express does. A huge THANK YOU to Starbucks and The Born This Way Foundation for this humbling recognition. And congratulations to all the winning barista champions who embody kindness in service every day!

For more fun photos and video from the event, check out our Instagram page.

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