Meet Your Barista: Josh @ Blankenbaker
Meet Josh this month!
Between graduate school at UofL, working as Educational Outreach Coordinator at Louisville Youth Group, acting as on Just Creation’s Board of Directors, and volunteering with True Colors Outreach Ministry at Highland Baptist Church, Josh has a full schedule. But he still manages to find time to kill it as a barista at our Blankenbaker store.
His manager, Kate, nominated Josh because he “is totally sweet and down to earth! He was actually one of my favorite customers long before he ever applied to work here.”
Which location is your home store?
Blankenbaker Parkway, home of the BEST manager, Kate Vanderlip, and assistant manager, Erin Day!
How long have you been working at HB?
About 5 months
Louisville Native or Transplant?
You’re a grad student at the UofL Kent School of Social Work – which class are you most looking forward to this semester?
I am most looking forward to my Practicum because it gives me the opportunity to apply the skills I need to master before graduation, and I can learn where I need to grow.
Finish the sentence: I couldn’t live without ______.
I couldn’t live without my “me” time. It keeps me (somewhat) sane! I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for about a year now. While not the best at establishing a formal practice and certainly not the spokesperson for the practice, I like mindfulness because you can participate no matter where you are – driving to places, walking in the park, reading a book. Formally sitting is helpful, too, because you have to focus all of you attention on the sitting. The idea is that you bring yourself back into the moment. It’s easy to get depressed about the past or anxious about the future, but life occurs in the here & now. Practicing mindfulness and putting myself back in the moment enables me to prioritize & take life one day at a time. The Passionist Earth & Spirit Center hosts monthly group sittings on the third Sunday of each month from 7-8:30.
Tell us a little bit about your work with Louisville Youth Group – how did you get involved?
Louisville Youth Group (LYG) is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to creating a safe place for LGBTQIA+ & Allied youth to socialize, learn, and grow. I am currently a “Mentern,” which is a super cool name for a “Mentor/Intern.” As a graduate student, my Practicum placement is with LYG. I am an outreach coordinator, and my primary function is to reach out to local public and private middle and high schools to share about what LYG does and to aid in the implementation or progression of a Gay-Straight-Transgender Alliance (GSTA) in these schools. I am also working with individuals in Appalachia to develop a group for youth in that region.
What’s the best thing about volunteering your time there or some of the other organizations you work with?
The best thing about working with LYG is that I can be who I needed when I was younger for these youth, and I can aid in providing a safe space in which they can be authentic. I struggled with my identity during high school and college, and honestly, for much of my younger twenties. I am at a point in life now where I have accepted and am comfortable with my identity, I have made resolutions, and I can use my experience to try to improve the experiences of these youth.
In addition to volunteering time with LYG, I am also Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors at Just Creations. Just Creations provides marketing assistance to low income craftspeople in the developing world. The sale of these products helps to provide a fair wage for the artisans and enables them to pay for food, education, healthcare, and housing. I also serve on the Outreach and Board Development Committees, and I volunteer on Trolley Hop Fridays. The best thing about volunteering here is the relationships I have formed with Board and Staff members, and I can play a small part in making the world (and my local community) a better place. I also chose to work at Heine Brothers because of their commitment to Fair Trade!
I am also a member of True Colors Ministry at Highland Baptist Church. Highland Baptist is a thinking, feeling, healing community of faith. True Colors’ purpose is to provide welcome, support, and spiritual education for the LGBTQ community. I grew up in a religious background which made the acceptance of my identity a struggle, and Highland showed me that God accepts me for who I am, and everyone for who they are. No exceptions! Highland saw the good in me when I couldn’t see it in myself.
Favorite place to go in Louisville (or Southern Indiana)?
I love going to the Parklands of Floyd’s Fork! It’s huge, and I can get lost in it and be ok with it! Pretty much anywhere that allows me to be in nature is my favorite place.
What’s your main life philosophy or rule to live by?
Oh man, what a question! Love yourself so you can love others. Forgive yourself so you can forgive others. Know your worth. No one decides your fate but you. Your past is your past, and you can’t change that. Focus on today. Who can you be today to insure that you will not be who you were yesterday? Who can you be today that will get you where you want to be tomorrow?
What’s your favorite HB drink?
My favorite drink at HB. I like all of the things! Honestly, when I open in the mornings, I start with a 4-shot Americano. It is probably my favorite drink, especially at 5:30 in the morning!
Interested in finding out more about some of the organizations Josh works with? Check out these resources and events:
Join them for Customer Appreciation Party & Fair Trade Chocolate Bake Off