The Happy Brew Café idea brewed out of Southside Student involvement in the Missing Voices Project through Flagler College. As we listened to families, we learned that students with Intellectual and Developmental Differences (IDD) could teach us more about love and grace than we could ever discover on our own. We wanted to create an environment where we could be in community together, and what better place than a café designed for all abilities.
The Friends Ministry at Southside Methodist has existed for over 30 years to transform the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental differences, their families, and volunteers by creating opportunities for belonging, contributing, and celebrating God-given gifts. This ministry has grown with Young Life Capernaum Club that reaches students with IDD and provides a place to gather as they age forward.
Historically, the majority of people with IDD have been either unemployed or underemployed despite their ability, desire, and willingness to work in the community. Knowing people with IDD can be employed in the community alongside people without disabilities and earn competitive wages, the idea for a coffee shop was born. Our goal is to support graduating high schoolers with IDD who face the reality of an 80% unemployment rate. We want to give these young adults opportunities to grow, lead, work, and use their abilities alongside their neurotypical peers in a café setting where our community can come together in shared hope.