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   The Milky Way, Yosemite National Park, by Akseli Mende, Ida B. Wells High School Class of 2021

Smart City Learning Cafe

Check out this press coverage from KGW-TV.

Support our work by making a donation

Venmo: @Coriolis (put Smart City Learning Cafe in the memo)

Put cash in the donation jar at the the City Learning Cafe

email to donate in another way

What: Drop-in low-cost,  high school homework help in math, science, English, writing, and other topics.

When: Every Wednesday, 7 - 9 pm. Beginning Wednesday, September 20, 2023. Every Wednesday that Ida B. Wells High School is open through Wednesday, June 12, 2023.

Where: Fat City Cafe, 7820 SW Capitol Highway, Portland OR 97219.

Thanks to the owners of Fat City Cafe, Helen and Mark Johnson, for providing use of the cafe for free.

Who: Any high school age learner (from any school or homeschool) is welcome. Joe Minato (science, math) and Amy Minato (English, writing) will be available to supervise and provide help to students. Peer tutors will also be on hand. 

No students younger than high school at this time. If you are interested in a middle school or late elementary school learning cafe, let us know.

E-mail List: Go to this link to be on the email list. There is a place to specify your role (student, peer tutor, adult tutor, parent, or donor.

Cost: The fee is $10 per session (see below for a term pass). Check in at the front desk each time. You can pay in cash or via Venmo (@Coriolis). Please indicate in the Venmo subject line that this is a payment to the Smart City Learning Cafe. If your Venmo handle is not your name, please put your name in the subject line.

  1. You can buy a semester pass (about 18 sessions) for $100. There is no physical pass, we just put you on a list of students who have prepaid.

  2. Members of Historically Marginalized Communities are free. Just let us know and we will put you on the semester pass list.

    1. Each student and family determines for themselves if they are a member of an Historically Marginalized Community.

  3. Low-income students are free. Just let us know and we will put you on the semester pass list.

    1. Low-income means that paying the SCLC fee is a hardship for you and your family.​

    2. Each student and family can decide this for themselves.

  4. Peer tutors are free.​ See separate page about how to become a peer tutor.

  5. In addition to the fee, everyone who can is encouraged to make donations to support the SCLC.

    1. There is a donation jar at the front of the cafe. You can also donate using Venmo (@Coriolis). Please indicate in the Venmo subject line that this is a donation to the Smart City Learning Cafe. We are not a 501 (c) (3). Donations are not tax deductible.

If you wish to pay or donate another way, let us know. We will add other methods of donating as we can.

Food and Drinks: We provide water and hot tea. Occasionally someone brings some cookies to share. The Cafe is not open for food service. Students who bring their own food need to clean up after themselves.

Details and Rules:

  • Capacity is limited to 24 learners at a time. First come, first served. We may limit each person's time to an hour if necessary. 

  • The inside of the cafe is for quiet study. Students are welcome to socialize in the outdoor seating area.

  • If Ida B. Wells High School is open, the Learning Cafe will be open. If Ida B. Wells High School closes due to Covid, weather, or other concerns, the Learning Cafe will also close.

  • There may occasionally be a Wednesday when Amy and/or Joe will not be able to attend. If both of them are unavailable, we will find substitute leaders. If we can't, we will close.


"The Fat City Learning Cafe is an excellent and amazing resource for high schoolers who want additional help outside of the stress of the school day. The quiet, relaxed environment provides a perfect spot for students to get work done and to get help from other students."

-- Brinnan Smith, IBWHS Class of 2023, regular attendee as a Peer Tutor

"The Smart City Learning Café, run by Joe Minato, was a tremendous help getting my daughter through Algebra 3/4. Joe and the students that participated create a relaxed, enjoyable learning atmosphere for the kids to get support, complete homework assignments, and assist each other where possible.  I would highly recommend the Smart City Learning Café!


-- Leslie Crehan, Ida B Wells Parent, Mom of a Learning Cafe Regular

After nearly two years of COVID-related virtual learning and an academically rough first semester in high school; my 9th grader was struggling with multiple school apps, managing his assignments, and understanding course content. By the second semester, my son was behind in class work and nearly failing science and math classes. An IBW teacher suggested we check out the Smart City Learning Café in Multnomah Village. We dropped in one Wednesday evening, and we were greeted by Mr. Minato. He listened to my concerns and questioned my son about his school experience. Thankfully, my son stayed that evening to work on his class assignments, and I left with a sense of relief that we finally had the help we desperately needed to manage his schoolwork. For several subsequent Wednesdays, Mr. Minato and his team of excellent student tutors worked with my son. I am grateful for the impressive results: completed and submitted past due assignments, improved test scores, and better overall grades!


The Smart City Café is an effective place of learning where students enjoy a relaxed vibe, comfy seating, and academic accomplishment on Wednesday evenings at the Fat City Cafe in Multnomah Village. I treasure this wonderful program and highly recommend it to complement your student’s school and study routines.  


-- Kathleen Schwartz, Mom of a Learning Cafe regular

The Smart City Learning Café is a unique and special place!  Our son was a peer tutor last year and it was one of the highlights of his week-- he didn’t miss a week and he was often there longer than the allotted time because he was having such a good time!  Over the year, he developed his skills in helping others and he gained a community of friends, including students who were being tutored as well as other peer tutors.  That is one of the amazing things about the Learning Cafe—Joe and Amy have created a sense of welcome, safety and equality that facilitates learning and growth by both students and peer tutors, and where the excitement of learning and talking about ideas infuses everything.


– Parents of a peer tutor

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