Former teacher raises funds for coffee shop to hire people with disabilities
Monday is National Down Syndrome Awareness Day, and a Westchester community is helping a group of people with disabilities find a fulfilling place to work.
Former Sleepy Hollow High School special education teacher Kim Kaczmarek and her students ran an in-school coffee shop for years.
"It really changed the culture of the school,” she says.
Since Kaczmarek retired, she's been trying to take the idea out of the classroom and into the real world.
"It's not so much about the coffee. It's really all the other things that come along with it,” she says.
Kaczmarek will hire, train and lead a group of her former students, all with differing abilities, at the cafe and bakery.
Statistically, people with disabilities struggle to find work and are paid less. Sleepy Coffee, Too aims to change that.
"They want what we all want. They want a meaningful job where they're respected and valued,” Kaczmarek says.
The owners of John’s Crazy Socks stopped by to support Kaczmarek's cafe. The shop is a growing nationally recognized sock company owned by Mark and John Cronin, who has Down syndrome.
"Part of our mission is to show what people with different abilities can do,” Mark Cronin says.
The shop, which is scheduled to open late summer/early fall will be located on Beekman Avenue in Sleepy Hollow.
Those who want to help support Sleepy Coffee, Too can donate on the GoFundMe page.