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Mentoring Positives: Muriel’s Place Opening Empowers Disadvantaged Youth to Further a Good Cause That Tastes Great

MAY 11, 2023
CONTACT: WILL GREEN @ 608-345-1064

Madison-based Mentoring Positives is set to open Muriel’s Place, a commercial kitchen where disadvantaged teens gain confidence, develop job skills and build relationships – all while making, marketing and selling Off The Block™ homemade pizza and salsa.

With operations now under one roof, Muriel’s Place is open to the public every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11 am – 2 pm for lunch and 5-7 pm for dinner. Off the Block™ pizzas come in seven varieties. They can be ordered hot or frozen, with dine-in and carry-out options available. Two flavors of homemade salsa are also available. All proceeds go directly back to Mentoring Positives, a transformational program serving youth in the Darbo-Worthington Park neighborhood.

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is hosting a ribbon cutting event for the grand opening of Muriel’s Place, 2844 E Washington Ave, located on the ground level of the new Ella Apartments Building. Guest speakers include Chamber President Zach Brandon and City of Madison staff.

“In the throes of the pandemic, standing outside, physically distanced, Will laid out his vision for a new space for Mentoring Positives,” said Zach Brandon, President of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. “It is exciting to see the official opening of this space, which serves as a monument to Will and Becky’s unrelenting commitment to inspiring, guiding and serving as champions for young people in this community.”

Previously, Off the Block™ products were produced in a shared commercial space leased at FEED Kitchens on Madison’s north side. They are sold at several Madison area locations, including Willy Street Co-op, Metcalfe’s Market and Regent Street Market.

“FEED Kitchens has been a nurturing space as our youth have built and grown the Off the Block™ brand,” said co-founder Becky Green. “Our success there has been a springboard for our kids to further stretch their entrepreneurial skills.”

“At Muriel’s Place, they can see, learn and touch every aspect of the business, from sourcing Wisconsin ingredients to managing a pizza assembly line, taking care of equipment, marketing their products and delivering excellent customer service,” Becky Green said.

With more ways to buy Off the Block™ products, the group hopes to increase sales and invest even more in the people who will eventually become adult leaders of the Darbo-Worthington neighborhood and beyond.

Founded in 2004, Mentoring Positives utilizes group mentoring, athletics and entrepreneurial opportunities to guide and empower disadvantaged youth. A former star UW-Eau Claire basketball player, Will Green uses the basketball court as his meeting place for building relationships with young people.

With backgrounds in psychology and social work, the Greens first met while working at the Eau Claire Academy, a residential treatment center for youth with emotional and behavioral problems. It was there that Will and Becky, both raised by devoted single moms, cemented their collective passion for helping young people chart their path to adulthood.

Muriel’s Place is named after Will’s mom, Muriel Pipkins, who died at age 46 of breast cancer.

“She is my hero and my motivation for helping kids”, said Will Green. I turned my pain into passion after her death.

“I grew up without a father and my mom made heroic sacrifices so I could succeed. I want to give that same love and affection she showed to our family, friends back home in our community in Gary, Indiana,” Green added. Our youth in the Madison community face monumental challenges. If we mentor and wrap them in love and support, while equipping them to succeed, I believe they will have a bright future.”