Support Independent Grounds Coffee House “that will provide job training to adolescents with autism in DC”

“Dear PoPville,

I am writing to ask for you to support a cause that is near and dear to my heart. As many of you know, I am involved in a movement to open a non-profit coffee shop that will provide job training to adolescents with autism in the Washington, DC area. I have an amazing group of dedicated and experienced people on my team. We are at the point where we are trying to get our fundraising rolling!

In an effort to get our crowdfunding campaign to trend, we are looking to get some action on the GoFundMe page in a systematic way. If we get enough traffic on the site at the same time, we might be featured as the spotlighted campaign on the GoFundMe website! This is how you can help… Please make a contribution (any size donation helps tremendously – as little as $20 can go a long way) between 12:30 and 2pm.

Independent Grounds Coffee House is working to provide life skills and real-world work experience to young adults with autism. Please donate today!”

5 Comment

  • This is a very laudable goal.

    However most boys with autism (and it’s primarily a male disorder) are more oriented toward organization and might benefit more from learning computer database skills, working in libraries, etc, where they can develop intensive, high-paying careers. Working with hot liquids and being asked to interact with new people in new situations every 3 minutes?

    Think about autism as similar to a case of extreme anxiety/panic attack. Autistic kids need things to happen in patterns and they do not handle things diverting from those patterns. Many kids with high functioning autism are smarter on the IQ scale than the general population. So you have a very rigid-thinking “soup nazi”-style barrista and a goofball customer.

    here’s a kid who is smarter than their customers, who is essentially extremely nervous about being presented with a new situation and new people, and who really doesn’t “Get” why people make eye contact and make small talk, because they want to talk about the intricacies of some arcane bit of knowledge which is organizing itself into complex patterns in their minds.

    • And then just wait until some type-a personality barrels into the shop, all caffeine-starved and demanding. Yikes. I used to work at Starbucks and that was hard to deal with in any circumstance.
      But – hope this place works out.

    • I think this is a great idea all around. Having worked directly with kids on the spectrum for many years, I can tell you that the primary goal is teaching them to cope with anxiety and change. Despite the intelligence of some, most kids with autism develop into adults who cannot keep employment due to their difficulty relating to and communicating with their “typical” peers and supervisors. Real life on the job training is exactly what they need in order to learn to find the consistencies in the ever changing world of work. I wish more places like this existed for the kids I have taught and the kids I will teach.

  • Northwesterner, your thoughts are over generalized and archaic and exactly what people who work with children and adults with disabilities are working to get away from. Granted, many children and adults on the autism spectrum have social anxieties, but that doesn’t mean we should hole them up behind a computer screen or library stacks, where they’ll never get practice in gaining these skills. Customers who patronize these types of businesses have other options, but choose these establishments because of their mission. There will never be acceptance and understanding if we don’t give people of all abilities the opportunity to interact with one another. We need to give these young adults the same opportunities that everyone else has.

  • Well said, educationandbaseballdc. Let’s add that a venture as ambitious as this one, and one with such a clear purpose, would never be founded by someone who is blind to the intricacies of autism. Indeed, if you do your homework, you’ll see that Ms. Pickard has extensive experience working with this exceptionally underserved and undersupported group of young people.

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