When I first asked Jeffrey Sherman, owner of the Happy Cup Coffee Company out of Portland, Oregon, to partner with our students in the Coffee Cart Program at Cotopaxi High School, he was all in. He shared our mission of training special education students’ life-changing job skills through our curriculum and then finding jobs for them after graduation. He told me about Mike and Carl, two of the employees at Happy Cup, and we decided to have our CCP students come up with questions for Mike and Carl and then video conference each other all the way in Portland, Oregon from Cotopaxi, CO.
The CCP students practiced asking these real-world, work-related questions like “what do you spend your money on?”, “why do you work?” and “are you ever scared that you might make a mistake at work and how do you overcome that fear?”
The day arrived and the students of the CCP did a Zoom video conference with Mike, Carl, Tristan, and Jeffrey. The students were so engaged and excited to talk to these wonderful employees of the Happy Cup. When Mike was asked about where he likes to spend his money, he replied “Target!”. When Carl was asked why do you work, he replied, “so I can make money to travel to Las Vegas!” where he likes to visit the casinos to gamble! The students erupted in laughter. At one point at the end of the call, Mike said he had a question for the girl in the pink shirt (Grace) and he asked her if she had ever traveled anywhere? Grace was so excited that he had chosen her to ask a question, and she replied, “I’ve been to Florida.” Mike responded with “that’s gator country!” Again, the whole class erupted in laughter. Needless to say, the students of the CCP got so much out of this experience that they can’t wait to do it again.
Mike and Carl’s life lessons and work experience at the Happy Cup Coffee Company is an amazing example of how “people with potential” can work, grow and connect with everyone they meet and that they can teach all us something about ourselves. Please visit them at their website and order some coffee to keep Mike and Carl happily employed!!!