Shannon Miller and some of her Life Skills students with Common Grounds Café, the coffee cart business the students operate every Friday at Seaquam Secondary in North Delta. (James Smith photo)

Shannon Miller and some of her Life Skills students with Common Grounds Café, the coffee cart business the students operate every Friday at Seaquam Secondary in North Delta. (James Smith photo)

Coffee cart business helps build community for North Delta students with special needs

Seaquam Secondary Life Skills students deliver coffee and smiles to staff every Friday morning

By Haley Gagnaux for the North Delta Reporter

Every Friday at Seaquam Secondary, a coffee cart run completely by students with special needs makes the rounds.

Since March, the 12 Life Skills program students have been working hard to grow their fledgling business, taking coffee orders at the beginning of the week and then personally delivering the drinks to all the teachers and staff on Friday morning.

Behind the scenes is Shannon Miller, a life skills teacher at Seaquam who came up with the idea after hearing of a similar program in the U.S.

“I was inspired by a life skills teacher in Texas who started up a coffee cart business with her students who have exceptionalities. Those are the same students I work with every day,” Miller said.

She explained that having this cart has brought out the best in her students, many of whom have social anxiety, and has helped them foster relationships throughout the school.

“It’s about them developing social skills and organizing and maintaining a workspace,” she said.

“I have students who say that this coffee cart is their favourite part of school this year because they love it that much.”

Miller said the most impactful part of the experience for her is seeing her students feel included in the wider school community.

“You know that feeling that you get when you know you’ve done something really awesome for the school? That’s what’s been most impactful.”

SEE ALSO: Seaquam Secondary art auction raises money, community for Delta special needs students

The coffee cart has been named the Common Grounds Café, a name chosen because, as Miller put it, “even though we all have diversabilities, the common thread is that we all want to belong, and we all want to feel included.”

While speaking with the Reporter, Miller made a point of thanking the Starbucks at 72nd Avenue and Scott Road, especially manager Ashley Crofton, for all their support in getting and keeping the cart going. From sugars and creams to coffee and cups, everything was donated by Crofton and Starbucks.

Miller said she’d like to do the same for another school and donate the supplies needed to someone else who reads about what the kids at Seaquam have accomplished.

“What I would like to do, because Starbucks has been so amazing and donated all of our supplies, is with the money that we’re making I want to offer somebody else in the district, in the province — whoever reads the story and contacts me — we want to provide all the materials that they need to start up their coffee cart. We want to pay it forward.”

She hopes that this story and the idea will eventually spread across the province and country.

“I want this to catch on because of what it’s done for my students. I would be so excited to see what this will do for every student in every one of our programs.”

The hope, she said, is that people would keep paying it forward so it can impact as many students as possible.

“It’s changed all of our lives,” Miller said. “It really is awesome.”

Anyone interested in starting a coffee cart program in their school can contact Shannon Miller at smiller@deltasd.bc.ca.



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Seaquam Secondary principle Rick Mesich was all smiles as students from the school’s Life Skills program deliver his coffee order on Friday, May 31. (James Smith photo)

Seaquam Secondary principle Rick Mesich was all smiles as students from the school’s Life Skills program deliver his coffee order on Friday, May 31. (James Smith photo)

Just Posted

It remains to be seen how tourism dollars announced this week will help in White Rock. (Sterling Cunningham file photo)
White Rock officials question if tourism relief will come soon enough

For business, budget ‘feels more like a placeholder,’ says chamber head

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
South Surrey, White Rock MLAs call Tuesday’s provincial budget ‘disappointing’

MLAs Stephanie Cadieux and Trevor Halford say residents are getting less for more

Memorial for Travis Selje on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale, west of 176th Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Accused testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision

(File photo)
Three young girls followed while walking home from school, Surrey police say

RCMP say suspect took off after girls went into nearby store for help

Black smoke rises above Highway 17 in Surrey on Thursday. (Fraser Valley Road Report Facebook)
Fire sends thick black smoke above Surrey industrial area

Firefighters say blaze burning just off of Tannery Road and Highway 17 in Surrey

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley Fire: The aftermath of the inferno

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read