Inclusive student coffee cart serves the district, teaches life skills

by Alex Vukoder

The Revere Roasters do more than sell coffee to the Revere Local School community. The group, made up of special needs students from Revere Middle School, has donated funds to a nonprofit and supported the idea of inclusion for all.

The Revere Roasters started last school year after parents identified that there was a need for more support and opportunities for their students during the school day. Revere Middle School Intervention Specialist Allison McIntyre spent the summer researching programs and visiting other districts that have had success with coffee carts and cafes. Thus the Revere Roasters was born.

Students operate a coffee cart out of McIntyre’s classroom at RMS, which is open a few times a month accepting intra-building orders through a Google form. Revere patrons can order coffee, tea, hot chocolate, diet coke and all the accouterments. The students prepare and deliver the orders to the classrooms during first period on the designated days.

The group is committed to inclusion, for themselves and others. Students brew house blends from the Grande Roastery & Cafe in Medina – a restaurant operated by people with disabilities through Medina Creative Housing. They made this intentional decision to support local establishments that are offering paid work experiences for people with disabilities.

The Revere students are often tipped for a job well done and have chosen to donate their tips this year to United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland, in memory of former Revere student, Parker Cherotti, who passed away last year.

The Roasters take the cart on the road, too. They plan to do eight to nine events this school year, including PTA meetings, where they recently sold 80 cups of coffee. They teamed up with the intensive needs class at Bath Elementary to bring coffee to the Bath teachers. Through Roasters, the students practice social skills, math lessons, and learn life skills by taking field trips to Acme to purchase supplies.  

“Ordering coffee is just part of how the district supports the program,” said McIntyre. “Making real connections with the students and engaging with them on our deliveries and day-to-day is invaluable. The entire staff is so generous with their time. We wouldn’t be able to have these wonderful events without their support.”

McIntyre is currently seeking a grant to purchase upgraded carts and coffee machines. She said the main goal of the Revere Roasters is to normalize inclusion and community engagement in meaningful ways that foster independence and build skills best taught outside of the classroom.

“We asked for help, people responded, and in return our students have grown in ways we never could have imagined,” shared McIntyre.

McIntyre is often asked how the community can support the Roasters. She offers a few simple ways: donate to the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland, reach out with suggestions on new projects and collaborations for the class, and ensure groups, activities and events in your everyday lives are fostering inclusion.

The seven students from McIntyre’s class along with typical peers from the Kind Hearts Club, a group of students recognized for including and engaging with students of all abilities, are sharing joy and inspiring the school staff, PTA, students and each other.

For more information or to support the Revere Roasters, email Allison McIntyre at ∞

Featured Photo: The Revere Roasters recently served coffee at a PTA meeting with tips donated to United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland. Photo courtesy of Revere Local Schools.