80% of youth with developmental disabilities leave high school with no employment and nothing meaningful to do. Without work, they are more likely to live in poverty, have poor health outcomes, and have greater reliance on social welfare. There are few opportunities for our youth to remain engaged in the community they know and that knows them. With your help,we can change this! We can raise opportunities for them, and our community will be raised in the process!
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During Phase II, we will bring the coffee cart businesses into the community! You may see us at sporting events, festivals and fairs, churches, farmers markets, and other places. We will bring our tasty coffee drinks (and hopefully baked goods) to you!
If Phase I is "coffee in schools" and Phase II is "coffee in the community," then Phase III is Coffee in our Shop! Our primary goal is to operate a fully sustainable coffee shop and bakery business that will provide vocational training for students with developmental disabilities while they are still in school, employment opportunities once they graduate, and community inclusion and integration for life. Our dream is that it will be a "gathering place" where people can come and relax, enjoy delicious locally roasted coffee, listen to local music, see local art, be themselves, and feel a true sense of community. We look forward to finding that perfect place and building it with you.
Our primary short-term goal is to create a local coffee shop experience that the whole community can be proud of. We envision a place where people with and without developmental disabilities can train, work, and socialize in a happy, warm, and integrated environment.
We have a 3 phase plan to accomplish this goal.
As depicted below, during Phase I we are supporting high school coffee carts in Hanover County. Teachers and students in special education classes are selling coffee and other items to teachers in their school. They are learning to take customer orders, prepare drinks, count money, stock and restock items, place orders for restocking, and serve customers. Once we have a physical location, students will be able to take Community Based Instruction (CBI) trips to order supplies and coffee in person. We also hope to schedule field trips to our coffee roaster, Blanchard's Coffee Roasting Company in Richmond, so that students can learn about the art and science of roasting, the history and geography of coffee growing, and how to operate commercial coffee equipment.