‘Everybody is included’ - Mount Holly café gives opportunities to adults with developmental disabilities

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A coffee shop and café in Burlington County is doing its part to make sure that those with developmental disabilities have a place to feel included.

Breaking Grounds Coffee & Café in Mount Holly is a place for adults with developmental disabilities can work and interact with the public.

“I have a 12-year-old multiply disabled daughter and as I was working with other parents at her school, especially parents who are older, I realized that the opportunities for adults in the community really weren't where they should be,” says Breaking Grounds CEO Brandi Fishman.

Fishman started the café under her nonprofit organization the Zefer Foundation. She says that it is a place where these adults can work and learn. One such employee is Lauren Colella.

"People with disabilities have a place to come and work and not be worried about being pressured or feeling uncomfortable. So, it's a way to where everybody is included,” Colella says.

Colella started working at the café two years ago. She says that she worked her way up and learned a lot about herself along the way.

"Always expect the unexpected. You never know what's gonna happen until it hits you and always be prepared for the worst."

Fishman says that she is proud of how much Colella has grown.

"She's completely come out of her shell. She's now a shift manager. She's a total taskmaster, and she actually trains most of our new hires,” Fishman says.

Breaking Grounds is located in Mill Race Village in downtown Mount Holly. Fishman says that the community’s support has been one of the main reasons why the café has been successful.

"Our customers definitely embrace neuro-diversity and they've actually become friends with a lot of the employees so it's just been beautiful. I can't say enough about the residents of Mount Holly and all their support,” Fishman says.

The Zefer Foundation is planning to open its second Breaking Grounds location soon at the Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine in Sewell.

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