About Try Pie
Empowering a diverse group of teen girls
in life and leadership skills through meaningful work.
Try Pie is a social enterprise structured youth ministry that uses employment as an opportunity to engage and equip young women for their futures.
Teens at Try Pie learn to manage their paychecks, prepare for future employment, understand their unique gifts, and recognize value in each other.
Experiential learning in the kitchen is supported by time spent in a classroom setting with curriculum focusing on our four core values: Financial stewardship, job skill development, faith development and reconciling community.
Through working at Try Pie, teens are holistically prepared to pursue their goals as confident, contributing members of their community.
"The atmosphere at Try Pie is so positive. Everyone is encouraging. I like that we learn about God and I also really like how we've grown as a team but we also learn other lessons that prepare us for future jobs."
Allison Stuenkel, Try Pie Team Member since 2015.
Try Pie is a 501(c)3 Nonprofit.
How Try Pie Started
"Do you know what the Cedar Valley needs?" asked Kris. "It needs pie, homemade pie."
Original Team Members (2014)
"Working at Try Pie has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned many practical skills that will help me succeed in the future. I have meet awesome girls who share a love of baking pies and serving the Lord. I am extremely grateful to be a part of Try Pie!" Allison Stuenkel, Try Pie Team Member since 2015.
It was this statement that led to the birth of Try Pie in the Spring of 2014, after a moment of destiny for those gathered around the table.
The need began years earlier when a LINK—a partnership between Orchard Hill and Harvest Vineyard Churches—started getting to know kids from the Walnut neighborhood in Waterloo, Iowa.
As the relationships developed, a need raised by local voices for more productive activities and income opportunities for teens in the Cedar Valley was recognized. Teen employment was identified as an opportunity to address these needs while creating a caring community.
In the Fall of 2013, a small group of teenage girls and adults met to discuss local teen employment and dream about what could be next. This same group of young women were at Barn Happy, where the owner, Kris Boettger, both inspired them with her own story of entrepreneurship, and offered the direction of fresh, homemade pies for this team.
At this, the idea of Try Pie was born and work began to make this idea a reality.
In 2018, Megan Tensen and Sarah Helleso of Try Pie signed a lease with JSA Development and partner, David Deeds, for their brand new storefront at 522 Mulberry in downtown Waterloo. The new storefront will allow the group to grow its employment capacity to 20 young women and increase visibility of their pies. "A storefront is something the girls are excited about and the program seems ready for! We can't wait to see the ways this move will improve what we can offer the young women we're employing and to be a part of the good things happening in downtown Waterloo," said Sarah.
Try Pie's Impact in the Cedar Valley
We believe in using work as a tool for equipping our teens and strengthening our community.
Research has shown that working just a few hours each week as a teen can increase the likelihood that that teen will later attend college and decrease the likelihood they’ll be involved in crime activity. A job at Try Pie means a student will take part in programing, work and learn alongside co-workers from different schools, different towns, and different experiences as they build skills for their futures.
Here’s what our teens are saying!
“I think my confidence grew as I trained new coworkers in different jobs… I had to learn to become a better leader!” - West High Senior
"Through Try Pie we have gotten a lot of customer service experience. It’s nice to connect with our customers and see them enjoying our pie and then spreading the news about us!" - East High Sophomore
“I see a lot of good and bad at school. Working here has helped me to know others from West a little better than I did before.” - East High Sophomore
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