Woman Starts Coffee Shop That Specifically Employs Adults with Mental Disabilities

Positive stories like this first thing in the morning really do make my day!

In Wilmington, NC, Amy Wright has gotten national attention for creating a coffee shop that employs people with mental disabilities! Not only is business booming, but Amy and her team are helping to shut down stereotypes at the same time.

Before the shop’s official opening in January 2016, Amy and her husband were shocked to discover that almost 70% of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities do not have jobs. Thinking of her own children, Beau and Bitty, who both have Down syndrome, Amy decided to take action.

She created Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, which now employs 40 people with disabilities, as well as two managers who have degrees in special education. “I realized it would be the perfect environment for bringing people together,” Amy told CNN of starting the shop. “Seeing the staff taking orders, serving coffee — they’d realize how capable they are.”

Check out more about the shop below!

The idea of this shop is so great to see because people can have preconceived notions about people with disabilities, like they all aren’t capable of doing things or having positive interactions with others, when they are! The interaction between customers and staff her at Bitty & Beau’s helps breaks that stereotype.  “Creating this has given people a way to interact with people with disabilities that [they] never had before,” Amy said. “This is a safe place where people can test the waters and realize how much more alike we are than different. And that’s what it’s all about.”

All the profits from the coffee shop go to Wright’s nonprofit, Able to Work USA, a nationwide initiative created specifically to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) find meaningful employment!

This was definitely really cool to see. If you’re in the Wilmington area or close by, you should check it out. Maybe one day I’ll get down there for a visit myself!

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