Special education students learn life skills, gain work experience in campus coffee shop

Ashley Mackey Image
Monday, April 1, 2024
High School sets up coffee shop run by special education students
A local high school has set up a brand-new coffee shop run by special education students. The goal is to provide them with the opportunity to gain work experience, develop skills, and boost their confidence.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- The orders are rolling in at Santa Clarita's Golden Valley high school's brand-new coffee cart. They call it the Grizzlies Cafecito and to start, they're only serving staff members. The coffee shop serves iced and hot coffee, tea, energy drinks and snacks. The school's special education students run the operation and they say, they're already learning so much.

"It's important to pay your bills so you can live on your own and you can learn how to pay stuff," said Wyatt Furuyama.

"Even if you have one road then they have to switch it up and you have to be really flexible and the coffee cart thing, you have to be flexible because there's a lot of people," said Madison Winegar.

Sarah Caduff, a career transition advisor, came up with the idea and she says this opportunity will provide the students with vocational training as well as independent skills. The goal here is to help the students not only get a job and keep a job but also to build their confidence and independence along the way.

"Having the ability to be able to make your own money, to be able to know that you are capable of doing that, it makes you feel good about yourself and that's what we want for our students," said Caduff.

Adult transitional teacher Alyssa Webb says this program is also a wonderful opportunity for the community to see how hard the students work so they can welcome them into the workforce.

"If you hire someone with special needs who has the training and has the ability, they're going to be an asset to any company and I really think that that is, to me, one of the biggest parts of the end game," said Webb.

Currently, the students operate the coffee cart once a week, but teachers say they may expand to more days in the future.