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

 

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

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

‘Chest Air’ show in Surrey for storyteller/author Ivan Coyote, prior to city’s Pride festival

‘I want to stop the gerbil wheel a little bit,’ says award-winning artist, who has moved back to Yukon

South Asian Mental Health Alliance receives $112K to train 100 ‘youth ambassadors’

The first batch of 25 youth will begin training in Surrey next week

Delta police donate recovered bikes back to the community

18 bikes were donated to R.E.C. for Kids, a non-profit that provides sports equipment to kids in need

VIDEO: Life-threatening injuries in South Surrey motorcycle crash

Air ambulance dispatched following incident at 148 Street and 30 Avenue Monday

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Update: Two shot, two arrested at Toronto Raptors victory rally

The team and several dignitaries, including Justin Trudeau, remained on stage

Most Read

l -->