Milky Way Akseli Yosemite Cropped.jpeg

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

Smart City Learning Cafe

The Learning Cafe is was a huge success last school year!

We are going to continue this project for the 2022-2023 school year.

First Learning Cafe is Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Please consider supporting this project through our GoFundMe campaign.

What: Drop-in homework help in math, science, English, and writing. Other topics as possible. This is a quiet place for study even if you do not need help. Students are encouraged to help each other.

When: Every Wednesday, 7 - 9 pm.

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

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


They have even specifically asked to not receive any funds from the GoFundMe campaign. Loaning the use of Fat City Cafe for free is one way they are saying Thank You for many years of supporting them.

Who: Any high school age learner or older is welcome. Adult and independent learners are welcome. Amy Minato (English, writing) and Joe Minato (science. math) 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. This is not required to attend. But it is a good idea in case we need to close or otherwise notify regular attendees.

Cost: Free. Donations are always welcome. Please support or GoFundMe campaign.

Food and Drinks: We did not provide food or drink last year due to Covid. Many students brought their own snacks. We are still figuring out how this will work this year. Stay tuned. Bring your own snacks for now.

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