Student-run coffee shop teaches life skills - KCTV5

Student-run coffee shop teaches life skills

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Each morning at Oak Park High School, students will grind, brew and serve up coffee.

“Teachers come, students come,” said Junior Sydney Hand. “We have regulars, so some of them, I know what they’re ordering already.”

Hand is one of the baristas behind the student-run coffee shop.

“We serve frappuccinos, hot chocolate, mochas, light and dark roasts, and iced coffee,” Hand said.

It’s an experience that’s turned into an opportunity she wasn’t expecting.

“It’s actually made me a better student," she said. "I participate more in school. I’m at school on time, which was a very big struggle for me."

According to Assistant Principal Chad Valadez, that’s exactly what the program was intended to do.

“We were just looking for other ways that students could be engaged that were disengaged from school, or having attendance issues or just overall not having that sense of belonging at high school,” Valadez said.

Students are responsible for managing all orders.

“We’ll do 60 to 80 a day,” Valadez said. "We’ll have about 15 to 20 walk in in the morning."

Students with special needs make all the deliveries.

“They’re working on soft skills,” Valadez said.

At Oak Park High School, it’s more than just serving up a cup of Joe.

“Their confidence levels overall have really grown and we think this has been a part of it,” Valadez said.

And, they're making friends while doing it.

“It has me out there a little more, talking to more kids," Hand said. "It has me socializing with kids I might not have socialized with before,”

Students recently went on a tour of the Mother Earth Coffee plant in Kansas City and went to the newest shop location to observe professional baristas.

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