Special Education Students Learn Work Skills at Warrior Cafe

Special education students prepare coffee from the Warrior Cafe. (photo credit / WVTV)

AURORA – Waubonsie Valley special education students operate their own business on weekday mornings on campus called the Warrior Cafe.

“The Warrior Cafe was setup through a grant that was written,” said student services teacher Christina Finnen. “It’s designed so the students can develop work-related skills. They are a part of every aspect of the Warrior Cafe, whether it’s stocking, taking inventory, counting money, so pretty much any skill that you’ll learn that can carry over into different jobs.”

For a small fee, the Warrior Cafe serves faculty and staff a variety of morning beverages from coffee and tea to hot chocolate and water.

“When an e-mail goes out to staff,” said Finnen, “once they get their tickets, then I try to staff a student with the same teacher, so they can develop a relationship with that teacher, and then we work on communication, self-determination, independence, and then we also get to see their likes and dislikes for students.”

Student services teacher Christina Finnen helps a student deliver coffee to math teacher Nick Arens. (photo credit / WVTV)

From working hard behind the scenes to making deliveries, the orders teach students vocational skills and goals.

“They love it,” said Finnen. “It’s amazing to see how much they grow, and seeing that independence, seeing that self-determination. There’s so many skills that we work on. It’s just truly amazing to see the growth of each student.”