PARKER, Colo (CBS4) – A group of teenagers at Ponderosa High School have found a way to prepare for their future, while also bringing joy to classmates and the community. Students with special needs helped create “The Stable,” a coffee shop in their cafeteria.
They staff the shop and learned how to make the drinks. They also use the venue as an opportunity to socialize with others and learn how to handle money.
“My favorite drink to make is the latte,” said Trinity Scultz, one of the student staff members. “Our drinks are really good.”
The shop has only been open since mid-January. However, Significant Support Needs teacher Alli Fabrizio told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas she already sees the improvement it made in her students.
“It has been awesome. It has been really, really exciting,” Fabrizio said. “Anything you can use to put on a resume, they’re getting right now. I’ve seen more growth in the last month than I have in classroom settings because this provides those unpredictable circumstances we wouldn’t see.”
Student staff members said they were excited to help operate the classroom and often are eager to leave another class to serve their peers.
“I think it is really exciting. Because, we get to learn how to count money and make drinks. So, when we actually get a job, we know how to do stuff,” Scultz said.
“I like to help customers and everything,” said Mathew Bernier, a student staff member. “(Other students) say, ‘You guys are really good at it. You should keep doing the good work and keep your smiles on.’”
“Some of the peers do nice stuff for us. So, it is kind of nice for us to give back to them,” Scultz said.
The students use 50 percent of their income to restock the shop; twenty percent goes back to the school for their space; the final 30 percent of their funds go to a nonprofit which rotates each month.
With their grand opening successful, the students said they hope to make the shop popular enough to run for years to come.
“When I graduate, I want other kids to work here. To learn, and to have them work out in the real world,” Bernier said.