Jump-starting Jobs for Differing Abilities!


Who We Are:

Hi, I'm Angie Hudson, and I have been legally blind since college, over 30 years now. Every struggle and challenge in my life has brought me to this dream of opening Esteamed Coffee! Esteamed Coffee, Inc.  is the culmination of taking all the pressure of living with a disability and turning it into something beautiful.  I have a passion for giving people with disabilities , like me, a respected, public place in our local community. 

 Esteamed Coffee is also the dream of my good friend, and Co Founder, Tamara Lapsley, a Speech Language Pathologist. With her decades of experience, Tamara is highly skilled to be the Training Director for the dozens of employees and volunteers with disabilities whom we will hire.  We were just awarded a $5,000.00 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation for our Workforce Development Training Program which will ensure that our new employees are comfortable and confident before we host our Grand Opening.

Esteamed Coffee, Inc., became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on May 1, 2019. Together with our Board of Directors, we are now pushing to complete our fundraising by the end of the year so we can open our shop next summer. The pictures show our September fundraiser with some of our potential employees. I've also included a rendering of what we'd like our coffee shop to look like, and we hope to have a semi-private space for different groups to hold many types of gathering and an outdoor seating area as well.

To date, we’ve raised about $70,000 towards our goal of $275,000. With this GoFundMe goal of $67,500, you can help us reach the halfway mark ($137,500) in our journey to the finish line! With your support, we know we can make it to the grand opening of Esteamed Coffee!

What's the Problem?

The reason we're doing this is because the unemployment rate for working age people with disabilities is more than DOUBLE that of typically developing adults. More than 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed, and we want to directly impact that problem in our corner of the world!  We are specifically targeting three types of people with disabilities to employ: Visual impairments (like mine), communication deficits and IDD (intellectual/developmental disabilities like Down syndrome). There is a beautiful social movement in this positive direction, and we want to be part of the change!

 Creating new employment opportunities for those with disabilities like me is just a TOOL we are using to literally change lives in many other ways. I know firsthand the isolation and lack of opportunities to interact with others and build relationships and a sense of being part of the community. As a person with a disability, I know that I have a lot to offer, and Esteamed Coffee is part of reaching my personal potential. I’m confident many others would be striving towards their personal potential if they could have a job at Esteamed Coffee. For some, it may be volunteering to greet customers and wipe tables for a few hours a week. For others, it may be working as a cashier or barista for above minimum wage per hour. We will do our best to adapt to the needs of each individual. For all, we will ESTEAM their unique worth as a person.

 How Can Opening A Coffee Shop Help?

Our warm and welcoming coffee shop will give our employees a chance to gain confidence, independence, make new friends, be proud of their work, earn money, and their work will provide a supported safe space to regain or learn new skills. We call it the "Life Participation Approach" to therapy. In other words, their job will be giving them a LIFE with more relationships and help them reach therapy goals!

 The way Esteamed Coffee structures improving the most lives possible is to have a "Revolving Door" approach to our employees with disabilities. Once they have gained skills and confidence and are part of the community, we would be thrilled if they would be recruited to work at other companies, thus making room at Esteamed Coffee for us to hire and help new people! For some of our employees, Esteamed Coffee will be a perfect fit for a long time; for others, it will be the stepping stone they need to get out into the community. From Esteamed Coffee, there’s no telling where they will be recruited to work on the next step in their journey! We can’t WAIT to open our shop and put a sign at our cash register that boldly states “We’re Recruitable!” to give patrons the idea that our employees have gained basic work skills and are ready to be great employees in other companies in our community!

 Break it Down

So, why are so many dollars needed? Good question.

We have attached a pie chart that shows the breakdown of why it costs so much. We have done our homework, and we are being mentored by a coffee shop which opened last year with the same mission and business model. They raised 300,000 before opening and still fundraise 30 percent of their monthly operating expenses. As the chart shows, part of our fundraising is for 4-6 months operating expenses (before opening) to give us a better chance at sustainability.  

 The biggest challenge is that training and payroll costs are higher than a typical coffee shop because our employees will mostly work part time and, therefore we will have more shifts. We will also want to have a minimum of three to four people working at all times, to create the interaction and build the community feel we desire. It will all be worth it, but it takes a lot of funds to cover these additional payroll necessities.

 What Else?

Regarding other ways we are working hard to raise funds, we  are also applying for other grants and hope to be awarded more money to go towards training and serving an underserved segment of our community.

 We’re also excited to announce that one of our Board members is going to ride his bike 350 miles across North Carolina, stopping at all of our cities which either have a coffee shop or are planning to have a coffee shop with a similar mission! He will be riding sometime in November, and stopping at least 5 places– we will post updates and details  here with stops, collaborative events as soon as all the pieces are in place! Proceeds from the Bike-A-Thon will benefit not only Esteamed Coffee, but all of the coffee shops along his route – we’re all about helping others and what better way than to raise awareness across our state!

OK, That's Enough Words!
I hear you!  I'm almost done, but this is so exciting! Please help us make this dream a reality by watching our videos, checking  out our website (link at top of page) and like our Esteamed Coffee FB page, too! We'd love to add you to our mailing list (at the bottom of our website home page) and most of all, if  you could please donate to our worthy, tax exempt cause, we'd be most grateful to you! Every dollar is a blessing towards our mission of creating jobs for people with disabilities!




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Angie Armour Hudson 
Cary, NC
Esteamed Coffee Inc. 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
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