BY SHERI TRUSTY
There’s a little café with a great big mission in Elmore. Christy’s Corner Café, named for the late Christy Bosch, has become a social hub for the village while quite unique in its mission to provide job opportunities and job skills training for people with special needs.
Like many businesses, the café is struggling to stay fully staffed. To help its employees reach their greatest potential, the shop desperately needs a café manager and a lead job coach.
Bosch, who had Down syndrome, never let her special needs keep her from living a full life. She was surrounded by a family and community who supported her dreams and helped her reach her potential. Christy’s Corner Café, located at 368 Rice St., was created to provide opportunities for teens and adults with special needs so that they, like Bosch, could love life.
The café manager is responsible for overseeing the café’s dining operations as well as guiding the staff. An ideal candidate would have managerial and food service experience.
“Experience working with people with special needs is always a plus,” said Bosch’s sister, Kathy Barbee, who owns the café.
Barbee is looking for a café manager who can lead with kindness and patience as they oversee the employees with special needs, but they must also have the discretion to encourage the employees to reach their potential as they prepare for jobs beyond the café.
“Accountability is a big thing here because we are preparing them for different jobs,” Barbee said. “If we let them do things they can’t do at other jobs, we’re setting them up for failure.”
Employees with special needs work with a job coach who trains them and supports them as they learn their duties. The lead job coach oversees the job coaches, helps employees find a position in the café that matches their skills and preferences, and helps employees set goals.
“We focus on building skills that will help them with future jobs,” Barbee said.
The lead job coach is the primary contact person for the employee’s parents or guardian, and they help employees look for jobs when they are ready to transition to another career. Starting pay for the lead job coach position is $18 or more, depending on experience.
Christy’s Corner Café is open four days a week, and, with proper staffing, they hope to return to six days a week. Manager wages were recently increased, and an updated manager package is under development. Health insurance is available to managers and job coaches. For information on applying for the café manager or lead job coach positions, contact Kathy Barbee or Robin Laird at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbee is hoping to fill the café manager and lead job coach positions so the café can provide optimum opportunities for its employees with special needs. Those opportunities can create great lives like the one Bosch led.
Bosch was a manager for Cardinal Stritch High School boys varsity basketball for nine years, was active in her community, and earned many awards for volunteerism, social service and personal achievements in the face of adversity.
“Christy had the most awesome life because people said ‘yes, yes, yes’ to her. We want to be that ‘yes’ for people,” Barbee said. “When people walk through that door, we want to be that ‘yes’ so we can help them have the joyful life Christy had. They’re so capable of it.”