Deeper Look Inside The Kindness Cafe And CHS


Parkside students and Kindness Cafe workers

Lulu Jennings

Within our community at CHS there are many hidden layers that the average student doesn’t see. One of these layers is the exceptional learning program. Throughout the week exceptional learning students learn new everyday skills through the Parkside program and their partnership with the Kindness Cafe.  The Kindness Cafe is centered inside the YMCA which is located right in CHS’s backyard. The Kindness Cafe is “a coffee shop employing people with cognitive disabilities”, says Katie Kishore the owner. She states that [The Kindness Cafe] community is ready to support a mission-driven coffee shop and will benefit tremendously from the special experience it will provide.” 

“The Kindness Cafe is a job placement for adults with disabilities,” says the leader of Parkside Molly Feazel-Orr. Ms. Feazel-Orr teaches 18-22 year-olds skills needed to thrive in life outside of Parkside and CHS. Part of this program is going around CHS and taking teachers’ orders for the Kindness Cafe every Tuesday. Ms. Feazel-Orr says that “when we bring the order forms to the Kindness Cafe, the students get the opportunity to count the amount out so it gives them practice counting money.” This skill is essential for learning, and it allows the students to become incorporated into the outside world. 

On Thursdays, the students retrieve the orders from the Kindness Cafe and walk them back to CHS to deliver to the teachers. Ms. Feazel-Orr says that “within all of this there are so many skills that they are using like social skills, money skills, how to do a shopping transaction, and they are interacting with the school community.” The Kindness Cafe not only allows the students to practice “real world” skills but also to get to know teachers. “It is awesome because our students get to go in and actually get to know the teachers that they wouldn’t know any other way,” says Ms. Feazel-Orr. This shows the impact of the Kindness Cafe on  exceptional learning students. 

Many teachers also love this new element to school life because they get coffee specially delivered each week. “I get to interact with some fabulous human beings,” says Jenn Horne. Jenn Horne states that “I just think thinking outside the box in how we can create spaces where differently abled people are not only welcome but are productive and happy is the way we need to go.” The Kindness Cafe perfectly embodies the type of space Ms. Horne believes in, and allows for new opportunities.

The Kindness Cafe and its partnership with CHS’s Parkside students had allowed so many people to learn things they would never have had the opportunity to learn before. Without this incredible program so many students would not be able to gain access to the school and teachers as well as learn skills needed to thrive outside of the classroom. CHS students should definitely check out this amazing cafe, try all their awesome drinks, and support an amazing cause.