3 Is The Magic Number

3 Is The Magic Number

Just as there are three layers to an espresso coffee (the crema, body and heart), there are three aspects of the Special Grounds Coffee business (the roastery, kitchen and cafe) that three of our New Horizons Academy (NHA) Career Center seniors (Gabe Hobby, Tyler Davidoff, and Noah Nagel) are learning.

Most people that visit Special Grounds Coffee Co. or any other coffee house, usually only see and experience the front of house customer service aspects of its counter staff or baristas. Yes, they are the first or initial contact with the public just as the crema is the first or top layer of the espresso shot. Baristas, counter workers, and drive-thru staff greet customers and newcomers, visit with them, take their orders, create their drinks, and serve them delicious baked treats. 

“We want to congratulate and celebrate with senior Gabe Hobby! He just completed his drive thru training and is almost completely independent in serving customers their drinks and desserts,” shared Career Center Coordinator, Amy Murphy.

Gabe has come a long way in a very short period of time. He completed his health and safety food training and his OSHA modules before observing the Special Grounds Coffee Shop operations, shadowing its staff, practicing with job coach April Howard, working alongside experienced Special Grounds baristas and counter staff, and eventually taking drive thru orders and delivering drinks.

As job coach April shared, “Gabe has shown such growth, is so much more self-confident, and is working more and more independently. He follows directions, works well with staff, and works so hard! I am so proud of him!” And that is exactly what we want for all of our Career Center students and why the Special Grounds Coffee Shop was opened and developed…to help our students learn vocational skills and become more and more independent.

The second layer of the espresso is the body. It is the middle of the drink and offers espresso its strength just like the kitchen provides the heavy lifting for the Special Grounds Coffee Shop. The kitchen is the center of activity for the coffee shop and is where all of the delicious treats, breakfast burritos, tasty sandwiches, and fresh salads are made or baked.

Senior Tyler Davidoff is the latest Career Center student to join the kitchen crew. Job trainer Renate Benjamin directs, leads, coaches, and encourages many of our Career Center students, who want to learn aspects of food prep and bakery skills to use in their communities, restaurants, and businesses once they graduate New Horizons Academy. The Career Center Kitchen Crew includes Luke Chambers, Hannah Engler, Cierra Flores and Syndel Barker. All of these are learning so much during their kitchen work study program.

Job trainer Renate shared, “In a short time, Tyler has fit in with the rest of the student kitchen staff at Special Grounds Coffee Shop. With Tyler’s wittiness and willingness, I see Tyler accomplishing many things in his life! Tyler has volunteered numerous times in the kitchen when staff was short-handed. Since his very first day, Tyler has done a wonderful job. He follows directions in the kitchen, follows a recipe, and always asks, ‘What’s next?’”

Tyler is great with his hands. He enjoys pitching in and learning new skills. He learned that customer service was not his favorite aspect of the Special Grounds Coffee Shop…the kitchen was! He found the place at the Career Center where he feels the most comfortable, confident, and at home. And that is exactly what we want for all of our Career Center students and why the Special Grounds Coffee Shop was opened and developed…to help our students find their way, their strengths, and future job and career possibilities.

The third and final layer of the espresso is the heart just as the roastery is the heart of Special Grounds’ coffee business. From roasting, flavoring, product development, packaging, labeling and shipping, the entire cafe centers around our roastery. John Suess and Kayla Rowe roast and blend all of the coffee at Special Grounds. They, along with our Product Development Manager, Trishelle Suess, work closely with our third senior Noah Nagel weighing, bagging, and labeling all of Special Grounds’ retail orders, wholesale orders and special fundraising coffee drives. In the mornings, Noah works with the roastery team to learn the heart of the coffee business. In the afternoon, Noah works part-time behind the counter as a barista and paid coffee shop worker. He has learned the customer service aspects of Special Grounds Coffee, the kitchen work, and is now expanding his horizons in the roasting, flavoring and packaging rooms.

According to Murphy, “Noah has gone above and beyond. He is sought after and fought over between the kitchen and bagging and roasting rooms, He has worked additional shifts in the kitchen, so his classmates could participate in Fall Fest and Fire Safety Day. He communicates well with staff and provides peer support to at least three other students. He has a heart of gold and loves to make and share his treats.”

And that is exactly what we want for all of our Career Center students and why the Special Grounds Coffee Shop was opened and developed…to help our students expand their horizons, develop their leadership skills and potential, and share their caring, compassion, and support with others.

Three really is the magic number for the NHA Career Center and Special Grounds Coffee Shop…crema—Gabe, body—Tyler and heart—Noah!

For more information on Special Grounds Coffee, to explore our menu, to order our freshly roasted and blended coffees right from Wauseon, Ohio, or to learn more about our vocational Career Center opportunities, stop in and see our students at 845 S. Shoop Avenue or log onto our website at SpecialGroundsCoffee.com.

Handcrafted Hope

Handcrafted Hope

We know how capable our students are at NHA, and we are giving them another opportunity to display their creative sides through a new program called Handcrafted Hope.

We look through any disability and allow their ability to take hold to create festive Christmas ornaments made from the burlap coffee bean sacks from Special Grounds.

These will be on sale closer to the holiday season at Special Grounds.

Also each student in our high school and middle school are learning to sew their own bag to sell. They are also made from the coffee bean sacks from Special Grounds, and will be fully lined with a magnetic closure.

The students have chosen the fabric, cut the fabric, added a stabilizer fabric for strength, and added reinforced stitching to make a quality bag. One of our students, Auron, has also designed a tag. The back of the tag will be signed by who has made the bag, and will be attached to every bag.

They have been working very diligently in work study to accomplish this, so look for them soon as many are very near completion. 

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

Special Grounds Coffee Talk

Things have been very busy at Special Grounds the past few months we continue to be humbled and amazed at the outpouring of support and encouragement that we receive from the surrounding communities! Below are a few of the exciting things we wanted to share:

Special Grounds Turns 1 Year Old!

In September, we celebrated the cafe’s 1st birthday! It’s hard to believe that we’ve been open an entire year already. The time has flown by and we are amazed at all that our staff and kiddos have accomplished.

Cinnamon Rolls Are a Big Hit!

We have recently introduced a special offering to our bakery counter on Friday mornings: homemade cinnamon rolls! To say these cinnamon rolls have been a big hit would be a huge understatement. They are a huge labor of love and take three days to prepare everything from scratch. Every Friday morning, Jen brings out the first batch of freshly baked cinnamon rolls at 7:30 a.m. They’re so delicious and are usually sold out by 9:00 a.m.

NHA Staff Lunch Program

We received many requests from our staff at NHA from both campuses to come up with a way for them to order lunches from Special Grounds as they are unable to leave their students many times and go out for lunch on their own. Recently we’ve developed an employee portal where staff can order lunches once a week from the cafe. Students make and package these lunches on their specific days during their work study time. Students from the high school then get to pickup and deliver lunches to the NHA classrooms once a week.

Fundraising Season Kicks Off

Are you tired of doing car washes, selling candy or doing the same old boring fundraising activities to raise funds for your schools, clubs or churches? Here at Special Grounds we know what it takes to make people happy… and that’s coffee! We LOVE partnering with local schools, clubs and churches to develop unique FUNdraising programs centered around Special Grounds coffee. Contact Trishelle or Tara today to learn how Special Grounds can help you meet your fundraising goals with our fun and creative FUNdraising programs. 

2022 NHA Fun Run/Walk Recap

2022 NHA Fun Run/Walk Recap

We held our first ever NHA Family Fun Run/Walk event on Sunday, October 23 at the Blue Creek Metropark in Whitehouse, Ohio. We were very blessed to have an absolutely beautiful day for the event!

We had 142 people participate in this event. Participants ran, walked, pushed and pulled strollers, wagons and wheelchairs in both the 1K walk and 5K run.

Thank you to everyone who came out in support of our this event. Not only did we celebrate NHA’s 10th Anniversary… we also raised funds to support the inclusive playground project at our NHA Springfield campus.

Thank you to our sponsors, donors, volunteers and all the family and friends who participated and made this such a special day!

Thank You Sponsors!
Event Sponsors
  • Blue Layne Boutique
  • Csehi Family
  • Hite Concrete Equipment, Ltd.
Prize Sponsors
  • Dermatology Associates, Inc.
  • Meijer Maumee Store #115
  • Nagle Companies, Inc.
  • Reinbolt Family
  • The Image Group
Run Sponsors
  • The Leaf and Seed Cafe
  • Wolf Creek YMCA

NHA Christmas Musical Reminder

NHA Christmas Musical Reminder

Don’t forget!

On Tuesday, December 13, 2022, the students of New Horizons Academy in Wauseon will be presenting “The Grumps of Ring-A-Ding Town,” a Christmas musical, and other musical numbers.

As in years past, our Christmas musical will take place at Pettisville Missionary Church, in Pettisville, Ohio at 6:00 p.m. 

Each student will be offered a part in the show, so please mark your calendars for this exciting event!

More detailed information will be coming home with the students in the next few weeks… but for now, just SAVE THE DATE (and tell your friends)!

Giving Tuesday 419

Giving Tuesday 419

Mark your calendars for #GivingTuesday419!

#GivingTuesday is a global giving movement. Anyone, anywhere can participate. Join us on November 29 as we celebrate generosity in Northwest Ohio on Giving Tuesday at our #GivingTuesday419 event! Registration is now open for the event!

Can’t attend? No problem! You can still support Sara’s Garden, New Horizons Academy and Special Grounds Coffee Co. by making a donation online. Details can be found below.

Event Date:Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Event Location:Founder’s Hall – Sauder Village
22611 State Route 2, Archbold
Event Cost:$30.00 / person

Countdown to #GivingTuesday419

Event has ended

You’re invited to join local nonprofits and community members to maximize charitable giving!

Schedule of Events
5:00 p.m.
Doors Open
5:15 p.m.
Different Makers Expo
5:45 p.m.
Dismissal by table for dinner
6:30 p.m.
Difference Makers panels begin and giving platform opens
8:30 p.m. (approx.)
Grand total announcement
8:35 p.m. (approx.)
Check out begins. Please hold all checks until the program ends.
If you’re giving through your Everence donor advised fund, you do not have to formally check out.
To expedite check out, open and use an Everence donor advised fund.
Checks must be made out to Everence Foundation.
No cash or credit card gifts can be made at gala.

No gift is too small to inspire change in Northwest Ohio! 

During this Giving Tuesday season, you’ll be able to support our kiddos vocational training program at Special Grounds Coffee Co. Through your caring and support, we hope to continue to make a difference in the lives of our special needs children and their families. No gift is too small to help inspire change in Northwest Ohio!

If you can’t attend the 2022 Giving Tuesday 419 Difference Makers Expo you can still support our mission. Online donations can be made by clicking on the link below.

For additional information regarding #GivingTuesday419 please contact Tara at 419.335.SARA or via email at tarad@sarasgarden.org.