New Livonia Coffee Shop to Provide Jobs for Young Adults with Disabilities
December 19, 2019
Ian Edgar loves people and enjoys interacting with others. Come the week of December 2, the young man will have the opportunity to polish up his people skills when his new workplace, Anastasia and Katie's Coffee Shop & Cafe opens for business in Livonia. "I would like to work at the front of the restaurant 'cause I could talk to people all day long," the Livonia resident says with a laugh.
The coffee shop is the first business venture of Mi Work Matters, a non-profit organization that advocates for employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Mi Work Matters was formed in July of 2018 when its founders realized the need for a more focused approach to addressing employment issues for those with disabilities. The coffee shop derives its name from the daughters of the organization's two founders. In Michigan, the current employment rate for adults with developmental disabilities is less than 20 percent.
Edgar is one of 10 employees being trained in the business of running a coffee shop/café. Two managers are providing instruction in sandwich making, food safety, cashiering, and of course, barista training. The coffee shop aims to be an inclusive place of employment for people of all abilities. For some, this will be their first job. The goal is to provide work experience in a supportive, safe environment. "Honestly, my managers and my co-workers are awesome," says Edgar. "I think we're going to work very, very well as a team in the coming future."
"I think that it's more than just coffee and food that they're going to sell, we're really on a mission to change the way that people see and value all people, and people with disabilities specifically," says Mi Work Matters co-founder Kelly Rockwell. "To see that there's competency and capability."
Neil, Ian's father agrees, adding that while students with developmental disabilities are able to stay in school up to age 26, it is when they leave school, families find there are then few opportunities available for them. "It's organizations like this that help to address that need and promote self-reliance of these young adults," he says. "What they hope to do is to start multiple businesses from the non-profit that help to promote inclusivity in the workplace and in the community."
Mi Work Matters held a fundraiser early in November to generate funds to cover the initial expenses of opening the coffee shop. Donations are welcome as the organization is a Michigan nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.
Opening the first week of December, Anastasia and Katie's Coffee Shop will be open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to2 p.m. In addition to various types of coffee and hot drinks, the shop will also sell bagels, muffins, pastries, sandwiches and salads. "I am really excited about having my first job," says Edgar. "I'm a very hard worker and excellent team player."
Anastasia and Katie's Coffee Shop & Café is located at 19215 Merriman Road, just north of Seven Mile Road. For more information see their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AnastasiaAndKatiesCoffeeShopAndCafe. For more information on Mi Work Matters, go to http://www.miworkmatters.org.