Starfish Cafe will help those wanting to transform their life - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Starfish Cafe will help those wanting to transform their life

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BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

Work is underway to turn an old shop on Main Street in Bay St. Louis into the Starfish Café, a non profit café and lifestyle resiliency center. The work in progress is a dream come true for Di Fillhart who came up with the concept three years ago.

"We spent the entire Christmas holiday working on defining what a resiliency lifestyle center would look like to provide community education, family life skills, life skills for people, disaster readiness and all of that," Fillhart said.

The program will be geared for 18 to 30-year-olds who are unemployed or underemployed or having trouble getting back on their feet after a drug or alcohol addiction.

"Giving people hope and an opportunity to turn their life and go in another direction," Fillhart said.

In between cooking, serving and cleaning, students will learn financial literacy, how to deal with stress, or other life skills. There will also be an opportunity for those wanting to get their GED.

"It doesn't matter why you are. Where you are? It matters that you don't want to stay there and you want to go somewhere else," Fillhart said.

The doors are not even open yet, but the Starfish Café is already getting the attention of the community.

Artist Lori Gordon said, "The Starfish Café is a wonderful, wonderful concept and I want to be a part of it."

Gordon is hosting collage workshops and the artwork created will be up for auction to raise money for the café.

"I think Katrina taught us all something really important. That we might have known a little bit before, but it's the importance of community," Gordon said.

The hope is others will get involved too and support the café in helping those struggling.

Fillhart said, "It can break some of that models, some of difficulties and challenges that they faced. Then they can bring their children into a much more positive environment and be a much better role model for them and that to me transforms communities."

Click here to see the artwork up for auction or to take one of the collage classes.

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