Montgomery County café helps provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities

Corey Davis Image
Monday, December 4, 2023
Employees with disabilities defying odds at Montgomery County café
A Mongomery County café is providing more opportunities for people with disabilities by offering employment and a social space where they can thrive

NARBERTH, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A local café in Montgomery County is providing more opportunities for people with disabilities by offering employment and a social space where they can thrive.

The nation just celebrated International Day of Persons with Disabilities Sunday, which focuses on treating people equally.

That's the goal at GET Café on Haverford Ave. in Narberth, Pennsylvania.

What is seen as a simple act of making coffee and sandwiches is also a way for others to sharpen their skills.

"It's an opportunity for me to utilize more skills," said barista Dillon Shea.

Shea can do it all as a barista at GET Café, as customers come pouring in.

"I guess when it's busy, it's a little stressful but you just to keep your cool and just keep going," Shea said.

The 35-year-old has worked at the café for about two years.

The business promotes inclusion and opportunity by providing jobs for more than 50 employees and volunteers with disabilities.

"I've been working since I was 15," Shea said. "I worked at a grocery store for a bit and I did some freelancing."

Those jobs, however, are not widely available for people like Shea.

That's why Brooke Goodspeed founded the "GET Included" non-profit in 2015, followed by GET Cafe in 2019.

"It stands for Great Expectations Together," said Goodspeed.

The acronym serves as guiding words that capture what they're trying to do.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that up to 27%, or 1 in 4 adults in the U.S., have some type of disability.

Goodspeed is filling a need by employing people with a wide range of disabilities.

It's personal for her.

"I have three children and my 13-year-old son has multiple disabilities, including non-verbal autism," Goodspeed said. "I recognize that employment settings that we have today don't have a place for him as I set out to really change that for him and others like him."

There are also retirees at the café, such as former nurses and teachers, who work alongside employees as they become more independent while interacting with customers.

Many of the regulars said they enjoy the sense of community. They believe that it's a core part of the soul of this café.

"Starting out your day here in my opinion promotes a sense of positivity," said customer Stuart Chase.

Lots of coffee, good conversation and opportunity for all makes for a perfect blend.

The GET Included non-profit is accepting donations to help their cause.