Coffee cart benefits students, staff

Kelby Hicks
The Custer Jr./Sr High School (CHS) Special Education department started a new program Feb. 5 for junior high and high school students. 
The program is a coffee cart which was served to staff Tuesday mornings by junior high and high school students who rotate each week. The idea came from speech-language pathologist Kassie Davalos and occupational therapist Susan Hans for the social skills groups in the CHS building.
Judy Uhrich, junior high special education teacher, is in charge of the program and has eight student volunteers (five junior high and three high school) in the special education project which allows students with disabilities to practice the social skills they have learned through the special education-related services of speech and occupational therapy. 
Students learn skills such as public speaking, interaction with other individuals, sanitary work, money skills and confidence-building by participating.
The coffee cart consists of Starbucks coffee grounds, cocoa, Chai tea and herbal tea which are purchased from Sam’s Club. Their routine starts Monday afternoons (when school is in session) when a high school student preps the coffee grounds into the coffeemaker so it can be brewed each Tuesday morning. During Wildcat time, the coffee cart is in service so staff and students are not interrupted. 
The money made pays for new items needed to establish the cart, provide a free treat with beverages some weeks and for a student party (food of their choice) at the end of the year using tips they have received. On average, 15 teachers purchase an item from the cart.

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