Thanks a Latte

Samantha Rossman , Staff

Teachers work hard throughout the day and sometimes need a special treat, this is the goal of the Chargerland Cafe. They brighten up teachers’ days with a smile and a hot tea or coffee. These students with developmental challenges work with peers to make treats and warm drinks to deliver to teachers during second period. These students deliver to teachers following the individual order forms. They never fail to have a huge smile on their faces. This cute little corner cafe right in front of E100 has everything from baristas to a delivery crew. The food is all prepared in their own room and then the coffee is prepared the day of, in the cafe, then delivered hot. The teacher who started this tradition was a part time barista at Starbucks so she brought the trade to these young kids. All the food and drinks are prepared by the students themselves with the close eye of the paras making sure everything is running smoothly. This Chargerland Cafe, also known as Thanks a Latte, has been in business for almost 20 years here at Chatfield. This job is not only fun for these kids, but also teaches them life skills that they can use later on in life. Cooking, cleaning, and social skills are a huge aspect of this small business. According to Ms. McManus the most rewarding part is that she “love[s] seeing the growth and maturity the students demonstrate as they learn skills needed out  in the workforce. Students are constantly reminded of how what we are doing relates to employment outside of school. To know that I am teaching them skills that they will use for the rest of their lives, is the most rewarding thing of all! The icing on the cake is seeing former students employed at local businesses and thriving!” (McManus 03/11/2020). These amazing staff members teach these students with developmental challenges how to stay afloat in the real world. This special cafe not only teaches the students how to cook and clean it also teaches them management, how to fill out a resume, and demonstrate skills needed for an interview. The best part is the teachers’ huge smile on their faces when they receive their order and hear “Thank you for ordering from us!”, not only do they get a treat to keep them going but they are treated with a friendly face and open arms from these outstanding kids.

This week at Chatfield is Inclusion Week. Let’s  make these students feel just as welcome as one of your best friends. Sometimes these young adults are excluded, so let’s start including them Chargers!