Stroudsburg High School Brewing Acceptance

A group of Stroudsburg High School students with disabilities are showing off their abilities to their peers.

The group works in a school-run coffeehouse, where they learn more than just how to brew the perfect cup.

Common Grounds Coffee Shop brews more than just cups of coffee, hot chocolate or tea. It’s also brewing acceptance.

The shop is operated by Stroudsburg High School students with disabilities.

The organizer of this program said the students are proving to themselves and their peers that anything is possible.

“It’s not about our disabilities because every one of us has a disability in this world. So we have to focus on what we can do, and they’re showing us amazing results,” said school speech therapist, Lori Bochon.

Those results include all types of work experience, from taking orders, to serving the hot beverages and operating the cash register.

“It’s great actually. It’s no problem. I’m kinda getting used to it and I’m kinda getting better at it,” said senior Tariq Peterson.

“Our hope is that by working here they’re learning the job related skills they’re going to need to be competitively employed out in the community,” said school educational consultant, Sherri McIntyre.

While getting that first cup of coffee is essential to so many people, this group of students say just serving their fellow peers and guests makes the job worth it.

“I feel awesome. Just helping people, you know, that’s my thing. I like helping people. It makes me feel better,” said Peterson.

“My experience is fantastic, in general,” said junior Nicholas Rowley.

As students and teachers lined up to get their coffee, they all agree the coffee shop is great, not only for that needed jolt of caffeine in the morning, but the shop also gives them the opportunity to make new friends behind the counter.

The money generated at Common Grounds Coffee Shop goes back into the store and to programs for the school’s special education department.

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