September 27th, 2019
Rose students assist Awaken Coffee
TUES. | 4-4-23 | NEWS
On March 4th, National Honor Society (NHS) members were given the opportunity to collaborate with Awaken Coffee to help with their fifth annual yard sale and renovation fix up. Students helped set up, run and clean up the yard sale.
Awaken Coffee was inspired by Bitty and Beau’s in Wilmington, N.C. Bitty and Beau’s was created to help prepare individuals with disabilities for the workforce.Like Bitty and Beau's, Awaken Coffee tries to employ exclusively for people with disabilities.
“Our goal with Awaken Coffee is to prove to other businesses and people throughout our community that these individuals are just as capable and deserving of the same opportunities as you and me,” Board of Directors member Katie Houmard said.
Houmard became involved with Awaken Coffee through her organization, Project SEARCH, which also helps prepare these individuals for real-world situations.
“I am the instructor for a program called
Photo contributed by Kinsley Tate White
Project SEARCH, which provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent-living skills to help young people with disabilities make successful transitions to productive adult life,” Houmard said. “When I heard about Awaken Coffee, I knew it was something I wanted and needed to be a part of.”
Houmard believes Awaken Coffee and continued awareness of individuals with disabilities in the workforce will have a lasting effect on Greenville.
“I have seen firsthand the need for disability awareness and education just at my job,” Houmard said. “I am a firm believer that if people knew better, they would do better.”
The individuals who work at Awaken Coffee, and those who have gone through Houmard’s program Project SEARCH, viewed their participation as looking for a way to get involved in the same way as everyone else. This enables them to express their abilities without any neglect.
“So often, these individuals are just looking for a chance,” Houmard said. “When provided with a chance, we know our employees are capable of so much, and we know they will prove that to everyone else as well.”
“Our biggest challenge we have faced has been fundraising,” Houmard said. “We are a non-profit, so finding new and unique ways to raise money is always a challenge.”
The advisor of NHS, Angie Byrne, allows her officers to lay out ways to earn credit and volunteer opportunities. Her officers decided to collaborate with Awaken Coffee to help spread the word of the non-profit and highlight their mission.
Members were given service hours for helping tidy up renovations to begin the hiring process.
“We had a service opportunity where there was a lot of construction and remodeling being done in their building,” Byrne said. “We spent a few hours at Awaken doing whatever they told us to.”
Byrne believes it gives her members a different outlook on special needs individuals entering the workforce.
“I feel really strongly as a student advisor of advocating for true volunteer work not just bringing things in,” Byrne said. “To go and do and serve the community, not just collect.”
Houmard believes the best way to get involved is by donating to Awaken Coffee and volunteering when the opportunity arises.