Life Skills students ready the coffee cart

Posted: November 14, 2017

For students of the Life Skills program, Monday mornings at Liberty Middle School​ are busy with making and delivering coffee orders for teachers and staff. The Life Skills Coffee Cart was started by Special Education Teacher KC Harrold and Speech-Language Pathologist Amber Burnett two years ago in order to teach vocational and communication skills to students in a fun and dynamic way.

Every week students receive orders, make coffee using a donated Keurig and deliver the coffee to teachers and staff throughout the building. The coffee cart offers a variety of jobs that involve the entire Life Skills class. The students learn to follow directions with coffee making, communicate using a variety of tools for customer service, count inventory items, make coffee cup sleeves, and track earnings to pay for class field trips.

“No one could have predicted how this little coffee cart could bring so much more to a school than just coffee,” says KC. “Not only do the Life Skills students bring fresh, delicious cups of joe, but they extend loads of smiles and an abundance of pride to staff and students. The Monday coffee joy is contagious, which raises spirits that unify the school community.”

The coffee cart is made possible by the generosity of Sierra Springs​, a water, tea, and coffee delivery company, who supplies the Life Skills program with most everything needed to stock the cart, and, adds KC, the wonderful Liberty Life Skills students supplying the hard work, enthusiasm, and spirit.

She explains, “We call this ‘business’ First Step: Coffee! for several reasons… it is the beginning of our students’ experience in the work world, it is the first of what I would like to be many vocational opportunities for Life Skills students within Camas School District, and it is coffee that’s a first step to a great day for the amazing teachers and staff here at Liberty Middle School.”

Wondering about the Life Skill program in general? In the classroom, the primary focus is on developing life skills through teaching functional academics and daily living skills with a strong concentration on social skills. “The challenges Life Skills students face are daunting,” says KC. “They are most often cognitively disabled, autistic, or have a combination of two or more disabilities. Accessing the world is a daily struggle, and our mission is to help each student to gain the skills and experiences they need reach their individual best.”

We say: Mission Accomplished.