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The P.A.I.V.E. Coffee Shop Brews Kindness and Warmth

For three mornings in March 2024, the smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air in and around the P.A.I.V.E. classroom. Located at the Riverview Ancillary Programs campus (RAP) between Carnation Elementary and the Riverview Learning Center, the P.A.I.V.E. classroom space was transformed into the P.A.I.V.E. Coffee Shop with coffee, tea, and cocoa proudly poured and served to all who came by to pick up a morning beverage.

“The purpose of the Coffee Shop is to expose our students to another form of job experience that they otherwise have not thought of trying,” shares Janet Resa, P.A.I.V.E. teacher. “Our students helped brainstorm a coffee shop setup that was welcoming and functional. Though the students are not coffee drinkers, they worked on planning options for people to order and understand the importance of offering a variety of choices.”

P.A.I.V.E., or Personal Achievement in Independence, Vocation, and Education, is designed for adult students ages 18-21 who wish to enhance their learning in the areas of Education, Employment, and Independent Living. Students, their families, and P.A.I.V.E.’s staff work collaboratively to determine students’ post-secondary goals in each of those three areas. Because every student has different needs and goals, the curriculum and content of P.A.I.V.E. is designed to meet the needs of individualized students.

Resa is proud to share that her students planned the entire project. This included creating planter boxes for outside the classroom and shopping for and planting flowers for a nice and inviting look. In addition, they made signs and purchased supplies and materials necessary to run a multi-day pop-up coffee shop.

“One thing I am proud of is that our students learned to advocate for what they need to be successful,” said Resa. “In this instance it was fulfilling a coffee order. However, the students were able to say what did or did not work for them. On our first trial run, students learned what it meant to take a ‘break’ – to step away, leave, and then return to their shift when their break was over.”

Resa also indicates that these experiences are vitally important in teaching P.A.I.V.E. students how to maintain a professional work environment, develop communication skills, follow directions, build confidence and independence, and understand the basics of creating a plan and seeing it through to success.

As nearby staff from other RAP offices, Carnation Elementary, the Riverview Learning Center, and administrators from around the district came by to visit and place an order, smiles and excitement were felt by everyone. Whether someone ordered an Oatmilk Coffee with two pumps of vanilla, a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream, a standard Earl Grey tea, or any of the other combinations available on the menu, the drinks tasted great and everyone left the P.A.I.V.E. Coffee Shop happier than when they arrived.

“This coffee shop was a success and I loved seeing our students have an extra boost of confidence,” said Resa. “We even got a $10 tip from someone that will go toward our laundromat fund! We cannot wait to put on another event soon.”

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