Pay It 4ward: Albuquerque cafe recognized for helping people struggling with addiction

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – For many New Mexicans, a cup of coffee is just a good way to start the day. 

But, for the workers at the Ancorra Cafe and Bakery that cup of coffee is opening doors to a brighter future, and it’s all thanks to one man who knows how hard it is to overcome addiction.

“We all have to decide what the meaning of our lives are, and I decided that the meaning of mine would be to try to make my community better,” said Dominic Cagliostro, a Pay It 4ward nominee. 

Cagliostro knows just how hard it is to overcome drug addiction. His recovery journey started 18 years ago. 

While he could’ve kept looking forward, he looked back at all the people struggling to start their own journey.

“It’s so hard for everyone to keep up with counseling, with life, with work. What if we kept it all in one spot, where they can come to counseling, they can come to work,” said Cagliostro. 

He started offering counseling services at Perfectly Imperfect in 2015. Then, he opened the cafe just around the corner, offering those same clients a way back into the workforce.

“That’s what this is all about, teaching them skills, real marketable skills that they can go take out in there. So when the baby birds are ready to leave the nest, we hopefully give them all the skills that they need to go out and improve their quality of life,” Cagliostro said. 

Since the cafe opened seven years ago, he estimates nearly 100 recovering addicts have graduated to other jobs throughout the city. Some even rejoining his team as counselors. 

But he admits there’s still hurdles to overcome.

“What we’re doing is, I think what we’re doing is very powerful, and it’s very helpful. But we need support,” said Cagliostro.  

That’s where Alison Bowles comes in.

“He was really sharing with me that he puts so much time and effort, and oftentimes he feels like people aren’t coming to the coffee shop, or they don’t know about it,” said Alison Bowles, a Pay It 4ward nominator. “So I thought it would be such a great honor to celebrate the time and effort he’s put into other people.“

So, it was time to Pay It 4ward with $400.

Watch the video above for more.