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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

West Side Teen Designs Coffee Bags For Uptown Cafe, With Sales Proceeds Going To Boys & Girls Club

"It felt good knowing something I made will be in a store and seen by people," 14-year-old Trenton said. "It's a really good feeling."

Trenton, 14, won a contest for his design to be featured on coffee bag from Happy Monday Coffee Roasters.
Courtesy Boys & Girls Club of Chicago
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UPTOWN — A cafe in Uptown is selling bags of coffee with packaging designed by a West Side teenager as part of a benefit for the local Boys & Girls Club.

Drink Happy Thoughts is selling roasted coffee beans in bags designed by Trenton, a 14-year-old member of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boys & Girls Club in West Garfield Park. Trenton won a contest launched by the cafe, which partnered with the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago for the competition.

Trenton heard about the design contest from a staff member at his Boys & Girls Club. His cousin had previously got him interested in graphic design, so he decided to try it and see what he could create.

“I wanted to have a fun competition with my cousin,” Trenton said. “He has a real passion for graphic design. I used to draw a lot. I didn’t know how far I could take it.”

Trenton’s design was picked out of about 20 finalists. Now, his colorful, Chicago-themed artwork is on coffee bags available for sale at Drink Happy Thoughts, 942 W. Montrose Ave.

A limited run of 100 coffee bags were printed with Trenton’s design and the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago’s logo. Only about 20 bags remain, said Yamel Salazar, co-owner of the coffee shop. The $25 bags of a Columbian medium roast will earmark $15 for the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago.

“The whole happy, positive message [of the design] really drew us in,” Salazar said. “The response from everyone has been super supportive. It has done really well.”

Credit: Courtesy Boys & Girls Club
Trenton, 14, won a contest for his design to be featured on coffee bag from Happy Monday Coffee Roasters.

Drink Happy Thoughts opened in spring 2020 from Salazar and her partner, Craig Alexander, who was a co-founder of the Hero Coffee Bar chain in Chicago. The couple relocated their coffee bean roastery from Kankakee to Edgewater, opening Happy Monday Coffee Roasters on Hollywood Avenue.

As a coffee bean wholesaler, Happy Monday has always tried to lend its hand to fundraising efforts, and the owners wanted to continue that in their new home of Chicago.

Kids like Trenton used Boys & Girls Clubs technology and resources to create their designs, said Anita Douglas, director of the King Boys & Girls Club. The idea was to get kids to do a fun project that could pique their interest in fields such as graphic design.

“We’re all about having kids experience things they don’t normally do,” Douglas said.

Trenton said he wanted his design to represent his hometown. He decided to create something involving the Chicago skyline and wanted to make it colorful and inclusive.

“I love my city. I knew it had to have Chicago in it,” he said. “Then I said, ‘Let me expand the colors to include all the colors of the rainbow.”

Credit: Courtesy Boys & Girls Club of Chicago
Trenton’s design uses a rainbow motif in an outline of the Chicago skyline.

Trenton recently visited Drink Happy Thoughts to see his design available on the shelf, which made him most excited about winning the contest.

“It felt good knowing something I made will be in a store and seen by people,” Trenton said. “It’s a really good feeling.”

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