The idea was simple. North Minneapolis teenagers needed a safe and engaging place to spend their time. The streets offered young people crime, violence and gang involvement, but one woman, Sister Jean Thuerauf decided to offer North Minneapolis teens something different. Something special.
She saw the need to engage the neighborhood’s young people in educational and empowering activities. So Sister Jean started inviting the community’s teenagers into her kitchen for help with schoolwork and to learn to bake cookies. It didn’t take long for there to be more teenagers than there was room in her tiny kitchen! Something had to be done.
In 1988, Sister Jean’s vision for a safe, secure, creative and engaging space for North Minneapolis’ youth was formalized and registered as Cookie Cart, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The first storefront was started on Emerson Avenue, and then in 1996 Cookie Cart settled into its current location on West Broadway Avenue, right in the heart of North Minneapolis.