LI coffee shop employs people with disabilities

- Cause Café is more than just a coffee shop. It is a special place with a very special staff. Many of the workers are on the autism spectrum.

Brian Auburn had a tough time finding steady work because of anxiety, panic attacks and depression. But in this welcoming environment, he's already doing a lot better. His boss is Stacey Wohl.

"Some of the kids it's their first job -- they've never worked before," she said. "And some other kids have worked."

"She hired me on the spot," Auburn said. "And I really appreciate it."

Stacey's mission hits close to home. Her children, Brittney and Logan, are autistic. While she can't change the diagnosis, she hopes to make it easier for young adults like them to work and get paid in the community.

"By buying the one cup of coffee from us, you are employing a young adult who might not ever have had an opportunity to work," Wohl said.

Jonathan works here, too.

"I love it a lot," he said. "Honestly, I love it a lot."

This week is part of the cafe's soft opening. Jonathan is helping spread the word. His mom, Dorina Barksdale, said he feels like he has a purpose.

Only a parent who has a child with a disability will really understand what another mother is going through," she said.

Andrew Popkin will be working in the kitchen.

"If you don't get the opportunity you're never going to learn," he said. He'll learn with help of chef Kristin Butcher.

"I'm really excited to work with people with autism and just create an environment where they can work safely," Butcher said.

Safely and successfully, trying to set a new standard one cup at a time.

"Our goal is to make this our flagship store and then open up a chain of stores around the country," Wohl said.

Job training will take place over the next two weeks. The grand opening is set for May 7. The goal is to raise enough money to hire and pay even more young adults with disabilities.

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