A coffee shop that warms the soul

  From the outside, it is no different from an ordinary coffee shop. A small store with six or seven tables, the overall atmosphere is fresh and elegant. Customers are greeted with delicious coffee, fruit smoothies and brownie biscuits during the business hours from 9 am to 3 pm every weekday. This small shop in Fairfax County, Virginia, is called “Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolate”. They are not an ordinary coffee shop, but an employment base-a place for some adult “special” children to provide full-time work.
  Five years ago, Allen and husband Jim founded this coffee shop in order for their daughter Cameron, who is suffering from intellectual disability, to have a place to work. At that time, Cameron attended the Davis Career Center training after finishing high school in the local public middle school. As part of the vocational training at Fairfax County Public Schools, the center provides employment training for students like Cameron, and then provides them with employment opportunities in local cooperative enterprises. Since then, Cameron has found his passion for baking.
  When Cameron turns 22, she needs to withdraw from the Fairfax County Public Schools system. Allen and Jim were busy searching for a bakery and dessert shop for their daughter, but they have not been able to find a suitable one. So they decided to open a shop for their daughter. It took them a while to finally find a store in Fairfax Mall, and just like that, the coffee shop named after their daughter Cameron was born. Today, every weekday from 9 am to 3 pm, 28-year-old Cameron will carefully organize the showcases in the store, make chocolates and desserts, or greet customers.
  At that time, in order to help more children like Cameron, Allen and Jim established Everyl Can Work, a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing employment for “special” children of working age. “Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolate Shop” is the foundation’s first enterprise. There is a “parallel” working environment in the shop: “special” children and healthy children work together. The shop assistants are all recommended through the employment center of the community where they are located. They pass interviews, training, and finally become full-time employees. Store managers will delegate daily tasks to employees based on their preferences and abilities. Every day, there is a work coach to ensure that “special” employees do tasks that they like and can handle.
  In Allen’s view, the most positive significance of this project is to enable these “special” children to realize their potential and talents. “Every child is an angel, they are simple and real. Sometimes, their talents and talents even surpass that of healthy people. And let these’special’ children work with healthy children, it works very well together.” Allen is talking When I started these things, my eyes were filled with love and happiness.
  For this group of “special” children, the bigger challenge is not that they can make a cup of coffee or a delicious dessert, but to serve all kinds of people. In this special coffee shop, the clerk on duty will use a cup of fragrant coffee or a piece of delicious dessert to open the door to communicate with guests. Each of the clerk here has several jobs. They not only received vocational training, mastered the skills of coffee making and baking, and were able to complete the ordering process proficiently. They also learned to talk to customers. In occasions other than cafes, they The ability to communicate with people has also improved significantly. Every day, many customers come to patronize.
  When some customers come into contact with these “special” shop assistants for the first time, they will not consciously speak lightly like they face four or five-year-old children. The coffee served was accidentally spilled in half and soaked the paper towels in the tray. Customers also showed a special tolerance for this. But this is not the “love” Allen wanted. Customers will not become repeat customers in the store just out of sympathy and love for the “special” staff. What they want to see is that customers come again because the coffee or chocolate biscuits they drank in this store are very well done. Great, let them make friends with these “special” employees while drinking coffee.
  Now, the reputation of “Cameron’s Coffee and Chocolate Shop” is growing, and more and more guests come to patronize. Cameron and her friends wrote a line in front of the door: “Let every cup of coffee warm your heart.” This may be their most sincere voice.