Beyond each cup, Starbucks serves a purpose far bigger than coffee. For years, the global coffee brand has grown and set itself apart because of its simple but powerful mission: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
Inside its stores, Starbucks has cultivated a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome, while outside of its stores; it has always strived to create a positive impact in the lives of its partners (employees) and the communities it serves.
When it comes to its partners, Starbucks nurtures their talents and passion and empowers them to fearlessly pursue their dreams.
Roemil Formalejo, a beneficiary from the HOUSE Foundation, is one of these dreamers. As a program scholar, Roemil was able to continue his college education and because of the foundation’s partnership with the brand, was given an opportunity to work as a Starbucks barista.
According to Roemil (or Roy), his experiences at Messy Bessy, the business sector of HOUSE Foundation, and at Starbucks molded him into a better person, “Noon, ang liit ng tingin ko sa sarili ko at sa pangarap ko. Before, gusto ko ganito lang, pero na-realize ko na dapat hindi ko nili-limit ‘yung sarili ko o ‘yung pangarap ko. Kasi alam ko na naman na nahubog na ‘yung sarili ko, doon na ’ko nagkaroon ng mas mataas na pangarap [Before, I thought lowly of myself and my dreams. For me, they were okay, but soon I realized that I should not limit myself and my dreams. When I had already molded myself that was when I had higher hopes].”
Roemil is just one of a few chosen HOUSE Foundation beneficiaries who were welcomed into Starbucks. Under both HOUSE Foundation and Starbucks, the learners are equipped with important work skills and positive values.
Since 2017, Starbucks and HOUSE Foundation have partnered to support two batches of learners. With the two organizations’ strong advocacy for education, the beneficiaries have also come to realize the value of receiving proper education.
For Ariel Mabini, another HOUSE Foundation learner working at Starbucks 6750 Ayala, education was the least of his priorities before he became a scholar of the foundation. As the eldest son, Ariel had always focused on working to provide for his family without much interest in continuing his college education. However, this all changed when his brother, also a HOUSE Foundation beneficiary, suggested that he apply as a scholar. Since then, Ariel has managed to find the perfect balance between school and work. He has even excelled as a partner, winning several employee awards including the ‘Be Welcoming Partner’, ‘Best in Customer Support’, and ‘Partner of the Year’, and is set to graduate in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Management from Manila Business College.
Though from separate branches, both Ariel and his batch-mate Romeo Tapay, have been recognized by Starbucks for their can-do attitude and dedication. After graduating with a degree in Accounting, Romeo has continued to serve as a full-time Starbucks partner and has been awarded ‘Partner of the Quarter’ for two quarters in a row. Being part of Starbucks, Romeo was inspired to go after bigger dreams and is now saving up and working hard to study law. While Romeo dreams of becoming a lawyer in the future, he also loves working as a partner because each day gives him the opportunity to meet new people.
“Masaya ako sa Starbucks kasi bawat araw, ‘yung makakaharap niyo sa register or ‘yung gagawin niyong drink ay para sa ibang tao. Habang nagiging barista ako, gusto kong gumawa ng kape para sa iba kasi gusto ko ‘yung kape nila maging special. Sabi nga ng store manager ko, dapat ‘yung customer hindi lang sa kape natin bumabalik, kundi sa kung paano natin sila kinakausap or ‘yung connection natin sa kanila. So, lalo akong naging passionate sa pagiging barista. Ang sarap kasi sa feeling na masarap ‘yung ginagawa mong kape para sa iba [I’m happy at Starbucks because every day, I face new people at the register and each drink I make is for a different person. As a barista, I like making coffee for other people because I enjoy making each cup special for them. As our store manager said, customers should not just return because of our coffee but also because of how we interact with them and our connection with them. So, I became more passionate in my craft as a barista. It’s such a fulfilling feeling when you know that you’ve made delicious coffee for others],” he shared.
Just like Romeo, Clariza Capili also enjoys meeting and connecting with customers and shares that one of the most memorable lessons she has learned from was to always smile. “So, ‘yung memorable sa ’kin sa Starbucks is ‘yung laging naka-smile kasi. Sa Starbucks kasi kailangan mo mag-connect, doon din namin nade-develop ‘yung mga ibang customer na nagiging friends na namin. Kapag pumapasok ka, ang saya lang [So, what’s memorable for me about Starbucks is how we always smile. At Starbucks, we have to connect, and that’s how we develop relationships with our customers who eventually become our friends. Whenever you step into the store, it’s always so happy],” she said.
Despite going through tough times after her father’s death, Clariza always found a way to smile through it and stay strong. Now, Clariza will be the first to graduate in her family with the help of the HOUSE Foundation and continues to make them proud as she works hard as a Starbucks partner.
(L-R) Partners from House Foundation: Ariel Mabini, Clariza Capili, Romeo Tapay and Roemil Formalejo.
Though coming from different walks of life, the paths of these inspiring partners have crossed at the HOUSE Foundation and now at Starbucks. Starbucks has strived to be an enabler of moments of connection every day and now it has brought together these partners where they eventually found a family, not only at the HOUSE Foundation but also in their new Starbucks homes.