GraceWay Church in Florida Opens Coffee Shop Run by Young Adults With Autism to Help With Employment Training

Rachel Ortt serves up a hot cup of coffee at Graceway Grounds Coffee & Cafe at GraceWay Church in Leesburg on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. The cafe is a fully renovated kitchen and cafe staffed by young people with intellectual and emotional challenges as a result of their autism. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

A Florida congregation has launched a coffee shop operated by young adults with autism spectrum disorder in part to help with employment training.

GraceWay Church in Leesburg opened the outreach ministry GraceWay Grounds & Café on Tuesday.

Roberta Kellan, director of Operations for GraceWay Grounds Coffee & Café, told The Christian Post that the inspiration for the café came in part through having a son who is on the autism spectrum.

“I chose specifically the coffee shop because my son trained at a coffee shop while in Michigan, and it was one of his favorite places of employment. It offers an opportunity to be easily trained and interact with the public,” Kellan said.

“My son was able to receive on-the-job training via a work study program created by the public school system. They act as a liaison between the young people and participating employers. My son has flourished.”

Kellan said she experienced “frustration when seeking transitional life skills” for her son before moving to Michigan. Upon returning to Florida, she wanted to “create a small version of the program.”

“It has been my dream to bring light to the need for resources for Lake County, for young adults with ASD,” Kellan said.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski