A coffee shop in Wilmington, North Carolina, employs 40 people with disabilities, as well as two managers who have degrees in special education.
Meet the owner of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, Amy Wright.
Photo credit: CNN
Wright’s inspiration came from two of her four children — Beau and Bitty, who have Down syndrome.
When Wright and her husband discovered that nearly 70% of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities do not have jobs, they resolved to do something about it.
“It hit me like a lightning bolt: a coffee shop!” Wright told CNN. “I realized it would be the perfect environment for bringing people together. Seeing the staff taking orders, serving coffee — they’d realize how capable they are.”
“Our wait time is no longer than any of our competitors,” Wright said. “They’ve all gotten really good at their jobs and step up if somebody else needs help.”
All the profits from the coffee shop go to Wright’s nonprofit, Able to Work USA. But she’s most proud of the bridges it’s built in the community.
“Creating this has given people a way to interact with people with disabilities that (they) never had before,” she said. “This is a safe place where people can test the waters and realize how much more alike we are than different. And that’s what it’s all about.”
Watch the video below.