Coffee Shop Run By Adults with Special Needs

A college student started a coffee shop to help people with intellectual disabilities develop professional skills. Brut visited the cafe in North Carolina to speak with the founder and staffers of 321 Coffee. ☕

Coffee Shop Run By Adults with Special Needs

This coffee shop is staffed by people with special needs is breaking stereotypes of the IDD community. The Raleigh, North Carolina nonprofit wants to help them move into the workforce. Lindsay Wrege started 321 Coffee, which is run by North Carolina State University students and adults with IDD (Expand to Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities.) She really wanted to provide something to these adults because she recognizes how much value they have and how much they really can bring to society. And what better way than through a cup of coffee?

Employee Carly Young says, “It's really interesting and fun. So many new experiences. And lots of things like making coffee, I work with other people. I just really enjoy it. As I grew older, I recognized that there was a significant lack of opportunities professionally for adults with IDD. We really worked to incorporate them into all aspects of the coffee shop, so they are greeting customers, they're taking orders, they're processing the checkout, they’re making hot and cold coffee drinks.”

Proud owner Lindsay adds, “the value that I think everyone is getting out of it, both the adults with IDD who are having a tie to a college campus, we invite them out, and we do a big cookout on campus and I think for them to have a place and a purpose on the college campus, as well as the value that I believe that these college students are getting out of working with these adults. It's been incredible to see true friendships form over time.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics only 20% of adults with disabilities are employed in the U.S. and Wrege is creating a space to change the world through gainful employment. The coffee shop opened in March 2019 and is currently run on a volunteer basis. But Wrege plans to create viable solutions via paid positions once sales are steady and furthering positive community relations.


05/07/2019 10:22 AMupdated: 06/14/2019 3:07 PM
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  • Brut
    05/07/2019 14:27

    Here's a look at the world's first mental health cafe �2

  • Lucas P.
    05/07/2019 14:34

    Lena Borges Alves Leite olha que iniciativa massa dessa guria

  • Furqan C.
    05/11/2019 13:27


  • Bella D.
    05/12/2019 05:27

    Cheers and kudos to people who are innovating and motivating things like this

  • Rose G.
    05/13/2019 02:44

    I love this for these young people

  • Nasser L.
    05/13/2019 17:03


  • Watan D.
    05/14/2019 04:19


  • Rex G.
    05/14/2019 14:08

    Great great stuff!!!

  • Jack F.
    05/15/2019 02:42

    Congratulations, Lindsay and the team. Everyone should see this video.

  • علي ا.
    05/15/2019 10:18

    هاي والله كارثه حته منغوليكم حلو

  • Kim P.
    05/15/2019 10:46

    Great job s for these guys ♥️♥️♥️😘

  • Chris W.
    05/15/2019 14:59

    How much value they have?.....they literally have less value in society, come on, being compassionate is one thing....but don’t flat out lie

  • Bao H.
    05/15/2019 15:10

    This video needs more views, this coffee needs to be heard of! People let’s share this post!

  • Bakali T.
    05/16/2019 17:08

    hadi nti

  • Carol K.
    05/16/2019 18:14


  • Md S.
    05/17/2019 17:10

    A great endeavour.

  • Rose F.
    05/18/2019 00:38

    Thanks Lindsay- this is awesome and has given so many job experience and a pride in themselves .

  • Isabella C.
    05/19/2019 15:06

    algo tarde nos enteramos

  • Lyn G.
    05/19/2019 22:23

    Sensational !!

  • Elizabeth N.
    05/20/2019 02:24

    So proud of you !! you are the best!!