A brave mum has quit her job to open her own “inclusive coffee shop and bistro” and employ people with special needs who are experiencing cognitive and developmental delays.
Arizona-based Karin York was only 20 years old when she gave birth to her son with Down’s syndrome. Ever since then, the mother has enjoyed Spencer’s presence more than anything else, but she also admitted that she wasn’t prepared for all the fighting she had to go through to ensure her son’s growth.
York’s worries first appeared when Spencer started going to school. According to the mother, she felt upset because she felt her son was being underestimated by not being challenged enough.
“He can do more. He’s mastered the calendar. He’s mastered colors. Let’s teach him something new,” York allegedly told the school.
Eventually, the young mother decided to change her course and become a special education teacher. After realizing just how much kids with special needs are capable of, Karin developed her own teaching programs that allowed students to learn new skills.
Despite being able to teach her students essential skills, Ms. York noticed that the majority of them lost support after graduating. While her own son, Spencer, was able to join an initiative that allowed him to work, York said that many children who are high-functioning but have cognitive delays find it hard to work without support.
“They want purpose. They want to be a part of something. A lot of them are unfulfilled and lonely,” York explained in an interview with Liftable. “They’re capable of work … you really have to be willing to take a chance.”
And to provide them with that opportunity, York recently decided to start her own business, a coffee shop called Spencer’s Place, that will employ people with special needs that belong to the “gray area” according to the mum.
“I’m having to walk away and really step out in faith and walk on water. I hope I walk a little longer than Peter did,” the mother joked. “But sometimes it feels like I’m already sinking and then I take a deep breath and rise above it, but It’s really terrifying.”
Despite some people criticizing York’s decision to quit her job only six years before her retirement, the mother feels grateful for the opportunity to take on this challenge.
“I think the time is now and the need is too great so here we go!” York said. “I have no doubt that once we get through all of the funding and all of the building renovations, I have no doubt that it will do well, but this piece in between is stretching my faith like nothing else has.”
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