A Knight's Way Cafe: West Bladen HS opens cafe where special needs students can work

A Knight's Way Cafe: West Bladen HS opens cafe where special needs students can work
A Knight's Way Cafe

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A new special kind of café opened up at West Bladen High School last month.

A Knight's Way Café is a full-service café in the high school that is run entirely by EC (exceptional children) students at the school and their teacher Amy Schumacher.

Schumacher got the idea to open this café after a former colleague of hers told her that they had these in multiple schools in Cumberland County.

The cafes were started by a nonprofit organization called "Miller's Crew."

The Molnar's, a family from Fayettville has a son, Miller with severe autism and they wanted to create opportunities for him to make sure he was ready for the work force.

So they started Miller's Crew and have already put about 5 full service cafes in high schools in the Cumberland county area.

When Schumacher heard about this, she reached out to Miller's Crew and asked if they would be up for opening one in Bladen County.

She said they were more than willing to expand their organization outside of their county and the rest was history.

"They have aspirations. They want things in life," Schumacher said. "And every one of them, they want to be a functioning part of society. So it was just the perfect opportunity for me to help them show people as well as show themselves that they can do whatever they set their mind to."

The students earn class credit for working in the café.

The café is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Schumacher's class held a fundraiser and raised $500 to start the café.

Once they had the money to start it, Miller's Crew came to West Bladen with all the equipment they needed to set up the café.

All the money the café makes goes towards buying more supplies to keep the café up and running.

Schumacher said once they have been open for a longer period of time, she hopes some of the profit they make from the café will go towards buying textbooks for the EC students.

Schumacher said the faculty and staff have been amazed by the work the students are doing.

"After seeing them do the job, that makes them shocked and amazed but that makes them want to support it even more."

Schumacher does not take the work that she does with the students for granted.

"It just makes me feel grateful. I always feel grateful to be their teacher," she said. "I love them. Every one of them. Just seeing the confidence in them, even just speaking with the public. A lot of times they're not spoken to so they don't get a lot of opportunity to have a conversation with people."

West Bladen High School is the only high school in Bladen County right now that has a Millers Crew Café. However Schumacher did say that they are currently in the process of trying to open one up at East Bladen High School.

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