A Café That’s More Than Just Food

A Café That’s More Than Just Food

Edison International supports Monkey Business Café in Fullerton, a nonprofit restaurant whose mission is to help foster kids become self-sufficient young adults.

Ian Layman, a former Hart Community Homes foster child, joined the Navy before finding his way back to Monkey Business Café in Fullerton, where he now runs the front of the restaurant.

Jesse Flores, a former Hart Community Homes foster child, stands outside the Monkey Business Café with founder Cari Hart-Bunevith. Flores returned to the café as a mentor.

This Trees of Thanks mural on a wall at Monkey Business Café in Fullerton acknowledges the businesses and groups who have helped its mission to give foster teens and at-risk youth life and work skills.

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Friday, October 9, 2015 - 12:00pm

CONTENT: Article

Cari Hart-Bunevith remembers Monkey Business Café's early years when the Fullerton restaurant’s “kitchen” consisted of a microwave oven, a blender to make smoothies and two sandwich offerings — turkey or the Nutty Monkey, a combination of peanut butter, bananas and honey.

It was bare bones but served its purpose to provide a training ground for the teenage boys Hart-Bunevith oversaw at her Hart Community Homes foster homes in Orange. She believed that working at a restaurant would give them job skills to fall back on when they had to leave foster care at 18, the legal age of emancipation.

Ten years later, Monkey Business Café boasts a real kitchen, complete with a grill, refrigerators and three waffle irons to make the café’s signature waffles. The café now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and includes a catering business.

Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison (SCE), has contributed financially to the program since 2011.

Read full story in Edison's Online Newsroom.